There is a new study by John Cook, et al., at IOP science “quantifying consensus” in scientific literature. He concludes there is the usual 97% consensus is found in the abstracts. How does he reach this conclusion?
First, he searched the ISI Web of Science for articles from 1997 to 2007 using the terms “global warming” or “global climate change”. Then the abstracts were divided into type of research and degree of endorsement for climate change.
The first question that arises is “If there was no endorsement of climate change” as in the cause of global warming was not addressed, why did the abstract show up in the search? It seems unlikely that researchers are padding their abstracts with the words “global warming” to move up in the search engines. The term “global climate change” could involve something other than human-caused warming, but why insert the term at all if the research shows, say, solar flares correlate to warming (just a made-up example)? Would this not also indicate disagreement with ACC, rather than no position? The whole selection process is highly questionable.
Add to that the term “citizen science”, which was used to describe this project, and one is left with a marketing survey. This says nothing about the truth of lack thereof in the research.
Let’s look at this in more detail:
The same type of survey could be done over the net looking at people’s perceptions of psychics. The public perception of psychics is important in maintaining the position of psychics in society. The survey can ask:
Do you believe psychics are real?
Do you believe psychic predictions are accurate?
Do you believe more attention should be paid to psychics?
Then suppose the results show:
30% of people say psychics are real, 60% have no opinion, 10 % say psychics are not real
of the 30% who believe the psychics are real, 95% believe the predictions are accurate
of the 30% who believe the psychics are real, 90% think more attention should be paid to psychics
Conclusion: 95% of people who believe psychic are real believe their predictions are accurate and nearly that many believe more attention should be paid to psychics
Does this mean that psychics are real and accurate? Of course not—it just shows that a certain percentage of the population has this belief and of that percentage, a very large percent believe psychics to be accurate and useful.
The same is true of the Cook “study”–it just shows there is a perception of climate change researchers who address that consensus exists. It says NOTHING about the science itself—nothing.
One last observation for now: There is an argument made that less study is done on ACC because it’s settled science—i.e., there’s no reason to study it much anymore. So what are all the research studies on? Natural climate change? The degree of climate change (which means there IS agreement with the consensus in those studies, they are not neutral)? How did 66% of the papers fail to take a position? If they are studying the degree of climate change without attributing it to anything, why the research?
This is another attempt to give validity to “voting for the right answer” in science. Using a “settled science” to prove science is settled. It’s just bad science all the way.