Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two bob each way - or Anthony Watts pats Schrödinger's pussy cat

Sou | 10:12 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment

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:
...the conspiracy theorists rise up in arms, united against a common foe.  They join together, proud of the diversity of thoughts (within their own heads) and cry "But Cook13 didn't ask if it was dangerous!"

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.)


  1. Sorry, the game was up when you used the term CAGW. Have a nice day.

  2. hahaha I don't expect anything else from our Thomas. He misses the point completely, just like the RWA's I was poking fun at.

    Is the cat dead or alive?

  3. Climate cranks love to dress up their vapid arguments with claims of logical fallacies. It is like dressing a pig in a tutu.

    It is the following that sends them into a state of apoplexy.

    Tweet from John Cook.
    "Consensus paper by @skepticscience rated in top 5% by Altimetric (measures buzz around scholarly articles)"

  4. Here in the US, we say "two bucks across the board" for a win/place/show bet.

  5. Naive is not the term I'd have chosen, Thomas, though it may be true. Irrational, yes. Verbose, yes. Wanting to silence those who point out idiocy - yes. Your technique is less common but not original and it won't work.

    As Thomas, Anthony Watts, the potty peer and the other chap from the UK illustrate, what sends science deniers around the twist is knowing that more and more people understand that virtually all the scientific evidence points to the fact that humans are causing global warming and that it's dangerous.

  6. Thomas, you may well be right that most people accessing the consensus paper are media hounds, etc rather than other researchers. I suspect the reason is that most other researchers recognise that the basic result of the paper is correct. They don't need to read the paper to realise that there is a strong consensus with regards to AGW within the climate science community. I suspect the paper was never intended to convince researchers of the existence of this consensus. It was intended to convince all the people who have been misled by those who keep trying to claim that no such consensus exists.

  7. In a recent literature search, Thomas was curious about whether there is any scientific support for a popular notion that the boiling point of water is 100 degrees at 1 atm.

    Thomas decided to investigate the matter. He sampled 12,000 peer reviewed scientific papers from 20 years ago to the present, that included the word "water".

    Thomas found that only one paper stated that the boiling point of water is 100 degrees at 1 atm. No other paper expressed an opinion on the subject of the boiling point of water.

    Thomas concluded that there is no scientific consensus on whether the boiling point of water is 100 degrees at 1 atm.

    Thomas proclaimed to the world that, based on the scientific literature, the boiling point of water is definitely not 100 degrees celsius at 1 atm.

  8. Thanks for proving my point, Thomas. Your illogic is wondrous to behold. I believe the term for what ails you is "motivated reasoning", or more appropriately "motivated unreasoning".

    Like I said. Using your argument you'd be stating quite categorically that there is no scientific consensus about the boiling point of water.

    And the term you were looking for was not "strawman fallacy" - it was "analogy".

  9. You remind me of someone who was confined to his own special thread on Deltoid!

    That aside, this is tedious. The deniers - and I class you as a denier - deny the validity of the scientific consensus on AGW but have no scientific counter-argument, which scuppers your nonsense at the outset.

    So you resort to any distractionary rhetoric you can because it allows you to honk, drone and bleat for a little longer.

    A few simple facts for you:

    - The scientific consensus is strong, real and all-but unanimous

    - The problem of AGW is real and potentially dangerous

    - Denying the above is, well, denial

    - Physics always wins arguments with blowhards

  10. The science isn't strong because of consensus, the consensus is strong because of the science.

    Thomas, protest all you want. It won't change the facts that scientific evidence shows that global warming is real and dangerous.

    The Cook study was solid, no matter how much you and Watts and others try to put it down. It shows the science is unequivocal that humans are causing (at least most) global warming.

    Look deeper and you'll find that we're most likely causing more than 100% of observed global warming. Chew on that one for a bit!

    I guess that's why you try to misrepresent it and try to drown threads like this in your long, tedious and meaningless waffle.

  11. Thomas Murphy

    No robust scientific counter-argument to the scientific (evidence-based) consensus on AGW exists.

    Physics trumps bloviation, every time.

    You are droning!


  12. Playing loudly does not mean that you are playing well. In effect, the pseudo-sceptic ignoring the complete absence of a scientific counter-argument to the scientific consensus is simply hitting an open cord over and over again without actually playing anything at all.

    Just making a very loud noise...

    Remember, Thomas, physics trumps rhetoric. Every time.

  13. None of these "numerous papers" provides a robust basis for a scientific counter-argument to the scientific consensus. You are simply wittering.

  14. BTW - the "Spinal Tap" reference was directed toward your multiple reiterations of the same point.

    I am obliged to repeat myself because you are saying nothing over and over again.

    If you cannot grasp this, then you are even less intellectually agile than I thought.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Alas, it was not meant to be for you view science being akin to politics - there are sides.

    Indeed there are. There is the side that understands that consensus of evidence leads to scientific consensus, and there is the side that denied this for financial, political or emotional reasons or some mixture of the three.


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