Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cook et al Paper Confirms 97% Scientific Consensus - Prompting Silly Conspiracy Theories from Anthony Watts and WUWT

Sou | 9:05 AM Go to the first of 58 comments. Add a comment

AGW Scientific Consensus: 97% and rising

Visit TheConsensusProject.com

A new peer-reviewed study in the open access journal, Environmental Research Letters** (ERL) confirms (again) the 97% scientific consensus on the causes of the current global warming.  Scientists have looked at the evidence and come to a conclusion. The evidence is so overwhelming now that the consensus has grown - from 90% in the literature twenty-two years ago in 1991 to 97% for the twenty year period to 2011.  Today 98.4% of scientists publishing papers relating to climate science and its impacts, agree that humans are causing global warming.

The finding (for anyone who's been sleeping under a cool rock for the past forty years or so) -  97% of published scientific papers taking a position on global warming all agree: 

We humans are causing global warming and climate change.

The paper is by Cook et al** and titled: Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature.  It is by far the largest of its kind in the peer-reviewed literature.  The authors analysed abstracts from 11,944 papers mentioning global warming or global climate change over the twenty year period between 1991 and 2011.  Of the nearly 12,000 papers only 0.7% disputed the fact that humans are causing global warming.  The papers represented the work of scientists from at least 91 countries throughout the world.

These findings are consistent with those of Naomi Oreskes - published in Science in 2004, and those of the recent unpublished work by James Lawrence Powell and other studies.  In the 928 peer-reviewed papers she examined spanning ten years (1993-2003), Oreskes did not find a single paper disputing the consensus that humans are causing global warming. Out of 13,950 peer-reviewed articles on global warming in the past twenty-one years, Powell found that only 24 rejected global warming.  There's more (click image to enlarge):

Cook et al (2013) and two other similar studies all show at least 97% scientific consensus.
Cook et al (2013) and two other similar studies all show at least 97% scientific consensus.

In this latest study, abstracts of the 11,944 papers were analysed by 24 volunteers led by John Cook of the University of Queensland and owner of the award-winning website SkepticalScience.com. They cross-checked their work by having at least two people independently rate each paper's abstract.  The people rating the abstracts didn't see the names of the papers' authors.  They further cross-checked by asking the papers' authors.

The research team was just a teeny bit (0.1%)  more conservative in their categorisations than the authors of the scientific papers themselves, showing the paper's findings to be rock solid.  Here's John Cook describing the study and its findings.

Spread the word - visit the new website: TheConsensusProject.com

To find out how to help the public become aware of the consensus, visit this new website: The Consensus Project.

You can also read reports of the study in this article on SkepticalScience.  It's also getting good mainstream and niche press coverage - click here for a multitude of choices:

And on various high profile blogs:

As I said up front, the paper was published in the open access journal ERL.  Instead of reader pays, the journal requires an up front payment.  To their credit, SkepticalScience raised the fee from its readers in less than half a day - so it's all there for you to read.  No paywall.  Lots of other good papers from top scientists there as well.

That's about all from me on the research itself for now.  The rest of this article is mainly for denier watchers.  If you want to skip the bulk of it (it's fairly standard denier weirdness, some of it funny) but consider yourself WUWT-literate, you might enjoy the little bonus at the end :D

The paranoid conspiracy theory of Anthony Watts and his motley crew of science deniers

Despite all these confirmations of consensus or more likely because of them, Anthony Watts (reckons he) has uncovered yet another giant conspiracy.  According to him, umpteen editors from one thousand nine hundred and eighty (1,980) journals colluded in one of the biggest scientific scams of two centuries - not!.  (Just how gullible does Tony think his readers are?  See below to find out.)

Let's say for argument's sake that on average there are two editors per journal with 3% a year retiring or quitting editing. (Some journals might only have one editor, others ten or more and the bigger journals have dozens.)  Even using that very conservative estimate, it would mean in aggregate there were more than 6,000 people from all around the world who have been secretly colluding for more than twenty years.  And no-one's found out or provided a single skerrick of evidence for this imaginary collusion. What an achievement!  If you believe that then I've got a bridge to sell you.

I wish someone would ask Anthony: where are all the tens of thousands of "skeptics" whingeing that their paper got rejected?  Not Watts himself - even he managed to get a paper published.

Denier Anthony breaks embargo to feebly protest the 97% consensus

Yesterday Anthony leaked the embargoed press release after Steve Milloy (yeah, another science denier) first broke it.  About time Milloy was dropped from all news distribution lists since he can't be trusted to keep to embargoes.  Anthony thought he'd get in early and try to frame the finding his way - dork!

Anthony can't face the fact that from 11,944 papers mentioning global warming or global climate change since 1991 only 0.7 per cent rejected AGW.  Of all the papers from this 12,000 or so that attribute a cause to the recent warming, 97 per cent of these endorsed the consensus that we are seeing man-made, or anthropogenic, global warming.  Anthony splutters:
And from that (97%) he gets a consensus?
From 97% he gets a consensus?  Wouldn't you?  Not Anthony, though.  He feebly tries to tell his readers to "Ignore the 97%.  Just look at the 1.9%!!!"  I wonder how he'd go if 97 doctors examined his rash and fever, analysed a blood sample and then told him he had measles, while two drongos said it was just mosquito bites.

How many science deniers like Anthony Watts can fit in the teeny weeny denier pit?

From the paper, of the 11,944 papers published between 1991 and 2011 there were 4014 that expressed a position on global warming.  Of these 4014, 3896 papers or 97.1% endorsed human-caused global warming, 78 or 1.9% disputed it and 40 or 1.0% indicated the cause was 'uncertain'. The remaining 7,930 took no position on current anthropogenic climate change. (I expect this proportion to rise dramatically over time.  After all, how many  papers on atomic physics today would explicitly state "we believe atoms exist"?)

Anyway, thought it was worth showing Anthony's position in a chart and compare it to reality:

How Anthony disproves his conspiracy theory

A stubby short of a six pack
A stubby short of a six pack
Anthony tries hard to find something to support his paranoid conspiracy theory.  His attempt brings to mind 'roos loose in the top paddock, two bob watches, thick planks and stubbies...

Anthony decides to quote a snippet from a stolen email, in which a couple of scientists are arguing that wrong papers should be kept out of the IPCC report.  Trouble is, Anthony's quote doesn't support his argument at all.  On the contrary, it flat out contradicts it.  Not only were those papers published in scientific journals (obviously, or there'd have been no argument), they were also included in the IPCC report!

From the USC:
Yet, the papers in question made it into the IPCC report, indicating that no restrictions on their incorporation were made. The IPCC process contains hundreds of authors and reviewers, with an exacting and transparent review process.

How Brandon Shollenberger Defends Consensus

Here's a tidbit of denier weirdness from a site called "The Blackboard".  Most deniers are weakly protesting that although thousands of experts all agree on AGW, it doesn't matter squat.  'Consensus is for the birds', they mumble.  Brandon Shollenberger (yes, that one) is taking a different tack, probably doing an Anthony Watts (see above) when he writes:
How many people currently believe Columbus set off to prove the Earth is round even though it is completely untrue? I’d say there’s even a consensus on it
One can only conclude that Brandon believes consensus is only of value if it's a consensus among experts, like scientists in the case of science.  Consensus among a motley mob of ideologically-driven deniers, conspiracy theorists and scientific illiterati from WUWT or The Blackboard is not only rare but meaningless. About the only thing deniers ever agree on is that it must be a giant conspiracy.  They can't even agree on what the conspiracy is.

More denier weirdness

Here are some choice excerpts from the comments to Anthony's article - so you can spend your valuable time on the paper itself and not have to wallow in the mud at WUWT:

Ron House ignores any findings from the 11,994 papers proffered by the authors, the numerous IPCC reports, the millions of papers to date mentioning climate change, and says that's not enough.  Instead he puts his two hands over his ears and shuts his eyes as he shouts that he wants not scientific evidence, but just evidence:
May 14, 2013 at 8:56 pm  I am sick of being told “97% agree…”  I want to be told THE EVIDENCE (yes, I am SHOUTING because no warmist ever, anywhere, any time, answers this question) – WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE. 

davidmhoffer says confidently, at least seventeen hours before he can possible have seen the paper itself:
May 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm  This paper is so bad that mocking it may improve its credibility.
And later, davidmhoffer gives some insight into the way his mind works.  He brings up a completely unrelated thought held by a Greek philospher two and a half thousand years ago.  (Empedocles was pretty close to the mark, he just got it back to front.)
May 14, 2013 at 10:59 pm  In 5th century BC, the Greek philosopher Empedocles postulated we could see things due to rays coming out of our eyes.
Has David created a paradox for himself? Does that mean all the thousands of scientists creating knowledge today are wrong?  If so, how does David know that Empedocles was wrong?

A.D. Everard apparently prefers to listen to people who don't know and says:
May 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm  So, they are trying to herd the population back into fear by reinforcing the idea of consensus amongst “scientists” who “know”. 

RockyRoad is a back-to-front arithmetician.  He thinks that a rise from 90% in 1991 to 97% over the whole twenty years is a decline, saying:
May 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm  Hmmmm…..It appears their “concensus” (sic) is declining…. significantly….(and as a reminder to himself, adds) ...Never let a touch of reality ruin your cause, right?

Peter Ward not only can't understand math, he can't read, looks as if he misread 12,000 as 2,000 - and says:
May 14, 2013 at 10:51 pm  So 97% of 4000 papers endorsed AGW but of the “over 2000″ papers surveyed only 32.6% did? I don’t understand that math.

Manfred, after two centuries of science and thousands of papers confirming the consensus, is still waiting hopefully  for his "one" paper, writing (with a touch of historical liberty and shades of the fake Oregon petition <--worth reading):
May 15, 2013 at 1:37 am  How tiresomely ignorant and devoid of science. If I recall correctly, after Einstein had fled from Germany and the Nazis, he was informed that a hundred ‘Nazi’ scientists had come forward to debunk his eminent work on relativity. His comment: “they only needed one paper.”

While poor old Fred would never believe the findings of any collection of experts.  He probably gets up every day wondering if this is the day when the sun doesn't rise or the day he'll float off earth and into space.  He says:
May 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm  And “consensus” is exactly what part of the scientific method? I wonder if Galileo was aware of this concept.

Sheesh.  What a weird, contradictory, conspiratorial world deniers inhabit.

An almost final word: Independent.  If a denier should stray here from WUWT or The Blackboard, maybe they will be kind to the folk there, and whisper to Anthony and Brandon (and Lucia) what Riki tried to tell them: "I do not think that word means what you think it means…."  Similar applies to words taken out of context.  You might also mention that stealing is not only immoral, in most places it's illegal. As is receiving stolen property.

A bonus for faithful readers

Here's a little bonus for everyone who's made it all the way to the end of this article.  A comment that slipped right by the eagle eyes of Watts and the WUWT moderators censors - so far (Please do Kevin and the world a favour.  If you follow the link to WUWT, don't just click from here - copy and paste it into a new browser tab.) (My formatting and inline hyperlink)
Kevin MacDonald says:
May 15, 2013 at 1:12 am  Fuzzy math: In a new soon to be published paper.  I thought you might be referring to that one that simply ignored the TOB’s adjustments, but then I realised that piece of junk is never getting published.

Now, time to shift back to the real world:

**John Cook, Dana Nuccitelli, Sarah A Green, Mark Richardson, Bärbel Winkler, Rob Painting, Robert Way, Peter Jacobs and Andrew Skuce 2013 Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024


  1. Sorry Sou I just don't buy it. I just checked Hotcopper and there is still no consensus. OK so the deniers on HC don't have any scientific credentials. They have rabid right wing ideologies. They own shares in fossil fuel companies and cheat each other by ramping those shares. But surely they should be considered when it comes to a consensus.

    1. Hello there :D

      Hmmm...What is their 'consensus' this week? Is it "no-one denies there is warming" or "it hasn't warmed for 16, 18, 30 years" or "we're heading for an ice age" or "no-one denies the climate changes, it's natural" or "Flannery-Bolt-algore (sic) drought" or "psychological misfire/Lysenko/reds-under-the-bed/15th century windmills" or "thumbs" or "carbon tax" or maybe they are recycling sea levels.

      I see Sydney is having an unusual warm spell. P'raps they are all out surfing (nah, their walkers would sink them)- just sitting in the sunshine under a tartan mohair rug waiting for winter so they can switch back to "it's cooling" :)

  2. Oh come on Sou, some credit for the hotcopperites. I just checked and the thread has moved on from the original posting of an AGW scientific consensus to Hitlers genocidal eugenics without breaking stride.

    1. I can't type a response, I'm laughing too much .........oh dear.....excuse me. Give me a few minutes .....

    2. OMG you weren't joking! You were making an understatement.

      WTF. They are all retarded. At one stage I thought jantimot was almost making progress but he's gone so far backwards. Where does he get his weird factoids I wonder.

      Benbradley is as crazy as ever with his nazi horridness - that man's a mess. Denmor's regurgitating Scholenburger's obsessive conspiracy ideation.

      Hanrahan almost comes across as 'normal' by comparison and he writes about climate science: "The whole thing is built on politics. EVERY alarmist on this board is a socialist..." . Should be enough to give people an inkling of what HC is like. I couldn't post what some of them came up with. Too disgusting.

      If I didn't know better I'd say they were auditioning for a black comedy edition of the onion. HC is now a zillion times worse than Jo Nova and iceagenow and infowars and prisonplanet and canadafreepress all rolled into one. WUWT is a paragon of good science by comparison.

      For the fearless:

  3. It's interesting how they all quote Phil Jones saying he'll "keep them out somehow", but it never occurs to them that perhaps the reason for this is simply that the papers in question are crap.

    1. Yes, Rachel, that was the reason for sure. The papers made it through peer review so 'skeptics' can't complain that papers from 'skeptics' aren't published.

      I say they can't complain but they do. What I mean is they have no grounds for saying that. Lots of papers from decent scientists never see the light of day in a journal. They end up in research institute collections or similar if they go anywhere.

      Thing is those papers in question even got into the IPCC. Not with much fanfare for obvious reasons. But they weren't excluded.

      Funny that on the same page that Watts dreamt up his '"skeptics" can't get published' fantasy, he posted another article crowing about a 'skeptics' paper that was published a couple of years ago. The chap has a very compartmentalised mind.

  4. This sounds a bit strange:

    "...of the 11,944 papers published between 1991 and 2011, 3896 papers or 97.1% endorsed human-caused global warming,..."

    1. Thanks, Lars. My mistake. I'll fix it. The percentages relate only to the papers that expressed a position one way or another on global warming (4014 papers). I did a few edits and must have cut out some text by accident.

      Done. If you refresh the page it should make sense now.

  5. I found the whole WUWT "attack" on John Cook's paper quite odd. They certainly have a theme that there is a fundamental problem with climate scientists; they suffer from groupthink or benefit from endorsing AGW. They even had a post a short while ago arguing that the strong consensus amongst climate scientists was implicit proof of a problem. Given that, they should be very happy about John Cook's paper as it proves their claims of a consensus. Now they just have to go and prove that this consensus is an indication of a flaw with climate science.

    1. Have you read The Authoritarians?

      I found it, well, not that it exactly explained much if anything about the why, but it was able to describe and categorise attributes that fit the hard core denier, as well as the people who prey on them. (Illogical thinking; compartmentalised minds where one notion can sit quite comfortably alongside a contradictory notion in another compartment; not venturing outside their own echo chamber; unrealistic view of the world; etc etc)

      There's a link in the sidebar. It's a free download, easy to read and not all that lengthy.

      As with any categorisation, there are always people who don't fit the mould.

    2. Thanks, I'll give it a read. The one issue I have with using these kind of books to explain why some people act they way they do is that those on the other side of the debate point to another set of books that supposedly explain what's wrong with their opponents.

    3. The biggest risk I think is that based on a couple of books and with no training whatsoever there is the temptation to 'diagnose' people. Which is bad. (Sometimes I don't resist altogether but I don't delve too deep either.)

      On the other hand, it can also help clarify behaviours and reactions when dealing with people. Your own as well as the person you're interacting with.

      I guess the thing is to use whatever you glean from it with caution. It's not for everyone. Some people hate that 'trickcyclist' stuff :0

      If you do read it, let me know what you think.

    4. "They certainly have a theme that there is a fundamental problem with climate scientists; they suffer from groupthink or benefit from endorsing AGW."

      In Dutch we say: "Zoals de waard is vertrouwt hij zijn gasten."

      Literal translation: "The inkeeper trusts his guests after his own character". Meaning: If you cannot be trusted yourself, you will be less likely to trust others. English equivalent: "Ill doers are ill deemers".

      If there is one group that suffers from group think it is the regulars at WUWT. Not even in the clearest cases of misquotations will they say that one of them may have crossed the line. No "sceptic" complained when Watts immaturely started calling me names. Conservative family values.

      As they are lying themselves everyday to defend their position, it probably comes naturally to them to expect scientists to be doing the same.

    5. Yes, they don't typically complain about the name calling. I started my blog because I wasn't willing to undergo the kind of name calling that was almost certain to occur if I commented on WUWT. It seems that you may be included in a cartoon though. That could be ironically amusing at some point in the future :-)

    6. Blogging is much more effective as writing a comment that gets lost in rubbish. Old lies keep on coming up and in discussions people still link to older posts of mine. That is much more difficult for a hidden comment.

      I am looking forward to the cartoon. If it is decently drawn, I will make a t-shirt with it and wear it like a badge of honour. Strange way to threat someone.

      A colleague of mine called me a climate "sceptic" recently after my EGU talk on the quality of daily temperature data. That was a real threat. :-) Must have been an effective talk. I hope the article will be just as good.

    7. Victor, you know, you have to keep to the party line completely -- no deviations!

  6. No one "breaks" an embargo if they didn't agree to it in the first place. I received the SkS announcement before the embargo time, which I never agreed to either, though I posted after that time only because I didn't get to it until then.

    1. The strong impression I got from reading David Appell's 'analysis' is that he is deliberately missing the point of the paper. Or he is lazy and didn't read the paper. Or both.

    2. Note to self. Don't send Davd Appell an embargoed press release.

    3. So what is the point I am missing?

    4. I get tons of embargoed material. But they are embargoes I agreed to.

      No one can be held to an embargo they didn't agree to.

      And why did SkS need to embargo this anyway?

    5. Note to self. Don't send David Appell an embargoed press release. Or did I say that already...

      David, re why the embargo? You'll have to ask SkepticalScience or the journal. I'm not involved. I can take a reasonable guess that it had something to do with the time of publication of the paper. I believe that's usually how it works with science journals.

    6. Reporters who received embargoed material from science journals have all agreed beforehand to receive it and to respect the embargoes. Otherwise they don't send it.

      They do it, nominally, to give reporters plenty of time to write their stories, but really they do it to concentrate and maximize coverage.

    7. Thanks for your take, David.

      The implications of your posts are interesting. I would have assumed a journo would like to get press releases rather than not. But you seem to be saying something else.

      Are you saying you don't really want any press releases about science papers, except for those you've agreed to beforehand? And that breaking embargoes is a good way to let everyone know that? (You implied the only reason you didn't break the embargo was that you "didn't get to it" before then.)

      It's not of immediate value to me to know now, but could be useful info that I can use in the future.

    8. Also I'm not saying I would have broken this "embargo" if I had gotten to it earlier. Frankly it doesn't strike me as a important result, but Watts apparently thought it worth discussing, and unless he and the sender had a prior agreement, he had every right to publish about the study regardless of any claimed "embargo."

      Journalists who receive embargoed material from journals and institutions have already agreed beforehand to respect those embargoes, or they wouldn't be sent to them. But a reporter who finds out about the information some other way is not bound by the embargo.

    9. David, re the point: please do your own work. If you are struggling, look at Lewandowsky's post on this subject or read the FAQ on http://www.theconsensusproject.com/#importance(esp the question "Why Does Consensus Matter?")

    10. David, is this all about you sticking up for Anthony Watts' honour? Hope he appreciates it :D

      It's misplaced here. I didn't say Anthony broke the embargo, I said Steve Milloy broke the embargo. (I may be wrong there too. It's possible someone else sent him the press release.)

      In any case, Anthony covered himself by saying Since there is no embargo time listed that I’m aware of, and it is in the wild now, it is fair game.'

      I doubt Anthony tried to find out but agree with you that he was under no obligation to do so. Anthony to his credit at least recognises that embargoes have some meaning and his comment suggests he'd respect them if he was asked to do so.

      Steve Milloy on the other hand, if he got the press release directly, was breaking the embargo.

    11. Oops, just saw my heading. Fair enough - it does say Anthony broke the embargo. In the text it's explained further.

    12. No, Milloy did not break any embargo, because he had not agreed to one. Embargoes are a two-sided agreement, not one-sided.

      The belief that anyone can send anything to anyone and expect the receiver to hold onto it until some sender-declared time has passed is naive.

    13. Again, what point am I missing? It's your claim -- please explain it.

    14. Sou, is this bloke being deliberately dense or is he one of those mushy, hairless-balled apologists for the deniers?

    15. Steve Milloy's a mate of yours, David? Explains a lot.

    16. Ian, not sure. Maybe both.

    17. Milloy's just a paid shill for oil and tobacco companies. Lie down with dogs...

    18. "A man is known by the company he keeps."

    19. Steve Milloy's a mate of yours, David? Explains a lot.

      This is exactly what bothers me, in part, about all this -- the notion that people have to line up, take a side, accept whatever in order to be part of some team. And if you don't people on that team -- usually anonymously, viz. cowardly -- will insult you for it.

    20. A wattism no less!

      Proud to be visited by many an anonymous coward :)

    21. Hesitantly :-)

      These studies, from Oreskes 04 to Cook now only exist because of the contrarian misinformation campaign.

      Perhaps we should be more annoyed about the contrarian misinformation campaign?

  7. No, I'm not saying that at all -- only that someone who has not agreed to an embargo is not bound to respecting it. The sender takes their chances.

    1. A complete lack of ethics. Stolen emails anyone?

    2. Take this as 'the point':

      .."a job that evidently has to be done by scientists, who have pulled off a massive coup of science communication, only to be sneered at by the people who are paid to perform that function themselves." (from the idiottracker)

      freelance journalist...yeah right...

  8. I don't agree on Steve Milloy on anything I know of ... but he, or anyone, still has the right to publish on something someone sends him unsolicited. It breaks no ethical rules.

    So if you don't want someone writing about something you give them until a certain time, don't give it to them unless you've reached a prior understanding. Period.

  9. A journalist's job is to provide information, context and analysis, not to just pass along information as if they're someone's message boy. It's naive to think otherwise.

  10. Appell is going into overdrive trying to cover his arse.
    In this post he claims "Nor am I "sneering."

    He is a liar.

    This is the comment that he left at William Connolley's blog which started it this discussion.

    "Who cares? Science isn’t done by the number of papers that seem to support a certain position, nor by how many amateurs rank important.

    This is a meaningless exercise by John Cook (no surprise there)."


    1. Correct -- science isn't done by counting papers.

    2. "science isn't done by counting papers."

      Would you like to be a bit more specific David. Are you suggesting that the authors claim that AGW is proven because there is a consensus in the literature? If so, would you like to point to where they make that claim?

      From the Consensus Project FAQ
      "Consensus doesn’t prove human-caused global warming. Instead, the body of evidence supporting human-caused global warming has led to a scientific consensus."

    3. "A journalist's job is to provide information, context and analysis, not to just pass along information as if they're someone's message boy. It's naive to think otherwise."

      By your own words you are damned. You've provided no context, no analysis, a churlish slant and a very silly straw man argument about the paper.

      "science isn't done by counting papers" Well duh, thanks for the bleeding obvious Einstein. You know this argument is fallacious.

      Really reads to me that the green-eye monster has got his grips on David and other similar commentators (they aren't journalists) because Skeptical Science is getting publicity. And once these guys start digging their holes, they don't stop, as evinced in the posts above...

    4. "science isn't done by counting papers"

      Depends on what you are researching!

      "Leading Voices in the Denier Choir, Conservative Columnists’ Dismissal of Global Warming and Denigration of Climate Science"
      Shaun W. Elsasser, Riley E. Dunlap, American Behavioural Scientist

      "The conservative “echo chamber” is a crucial element of the climate change denial machine. Although social scientists have begun to examine the role of conservative media in the denial campaign, this article reports the first examination of conservative newspaper columnists. Syndicated columnists are very influential because they reach a large audience. We analyze 203 opinion editorials (“op-eds”) written by 80 different columnists published from 2007 to 2010, a period that saw a number of crucial events and policy proposals regarding climate change. We focus on the key topics the columnists address and the skeptical arguments they employ. The overall results reveal a highly dismissive view of climate change and critical stance toward climate science among these influential conservative pundits. They play a crucial role in amplifying the denial machine’s messages to a broad segment of the American public."


    5. Appell is going into overdrive trying to cover his arse.

      @MikeH - He might be trying to cover his arse. He's doing a poor job if he is. He just keeps baring more and more of it.

      It's not a pretty picture.

      After a tweet exchange with Revkin, I'm getting the picture that some blog/journos don't want consensus, they think they need dissent.

      If people agree, they think they won't have anything to write about. They might have to do some work of their own instead of "he said" "she said" followed by "I'm above all that, I'm just the honest broker reporting what people think - one thinks the moon is made of cheese the other not. Gotta give them both a fair and balanced hearing".

    6. @Ian A It's pretty amazing of David to make that comment, especially after his lazy blog post.

      His history on some events shows a distinct lack of skill in describing context or analysis let alone adding information (other than information about his own opinion).

      This thread has been revealing - about a lot of things.

    7. David, yes, science isn't done by counting papers. However, if you're in a situation where a large group of people claim that the science isn't settled and that there isn't a consensus, then I can't think of any other way to determine what level of consensus exists amongst the a scienctific community. I know that many "skeptic" dislike the word consensus, but I can't think a better word to use to describe a scenario in which a large fraction of scientists agree on the fundamentals in a particular science area.

  11. Is it any big secret that you'd better agree with the hand that feeds you? I've seen too many researchers jumping on the bandwagon because of grant money. As surely as rain follows the plow, the standard model is always correct.

    1. Then how do you explain progress in science -- the discarding of old ideas as better ones come along, are tested, and are established? That has been going on since Galileo....

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