John Cook survey updated

August 14, 2013
Update–see this post:

This is an interesting article on the “97% consensus” study:

The paper, Cook et al. (2013) ‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature’ searched the Web of Science for the phrases “global warming” and “global climate change” then categorizing these results to their alleged level of endorsement of AGW. These results were then used to allege a 97% consensus on human-caused global warming.

To get to the truth, I emailed a sample of scientists who’s papers were used in the study and asked them if the categorization by Cook et al. (2013) is an accurate representation of their paper.

Read more here:


I note that WtD is up to the usual al hominem attacks on those who signed “The Oregon Project”. Why is it none every mention that one of the researchers in the latest marketing survey showing 97% consensus is a (former?) self-employed cartoonist? Isn’t that important to them? The qualifications and beliefs of skeptics certainly are. Skeptics are attacked for any beliefs not mainstream. They are attacked for their religious beliefs. Not so the anointed purveyors of climate change belief.

The website of John Cook says “He is not a climate scientist.” Yet there his name is on a peer-reviewed climate change article. If Cook is not a scientist, how did he get published in a peer-reviewed journal? If it’s not peer-reviewed, how can it be addressed on SkS? There is a clear rule about only using PEER_REVIEWED literature.

Answers anyone?

Again with the marketing

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.

Words have meanings

Today, William Brigss has an interesting guest post:

Our post today is provided by Terry Oldberg, M.S.E., M.S.E.E., P.E. Engineer-Scientist, Citizen of the U.S. That’s a lot of letters, Terry! Oldberg joined our Spot the Fallacy Contest, which had been laying fallow. He says he found multiple instances of equivocation in global warming arguments. What say you?

Summary and Introduction

No statistical population underlies the models by which climatologists project the amount, if any, of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions we’ll have to endure in the future. This absence of a statistical population has dire consequences. They include:

  • The inability of the models to provide policy makers with information about the outcomes from their policy decisions,
  • The insusceptibility of the models to being statistically validated and,
  • The inability of the government to control the climate through regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Rather than describe global warming climatology warts and all, the government obscures its unsavory features through repeated applications of a deceptive argument. Philosophers call this argument the equivocation fallacy.

Continue reading here:

Climate science is sooooo hard-or maybe not

I have been considering the claim that climate science is so complex only climate scientists can understand it after many years of research.  I was then wondering why Shaun Marcott, a researcher with a masters in geology (so far as I can find) published a study that PROVES the science is right and we are screwed.  A masters.  In geology.  The study was his PhD thesis.

So, we pull back the curtain and find that education and years of study are NOT required to get published and be an expert.  You just have to write what the journals want to hear.

Remember this when climate change advocates start in on years of research and the right degree.  Neither were necessary with Marcott.  If a geologist with a masters can write such an outstanding paper, there is no reason to doubt that PhD physicists who write that ACC is not real are just as qualified to comment and write on ACC.   Meteorologists, physicists, geologists are all qualified to do research and be heard.  The only reason they are not heard is they are not saying what the ACC folks want said.


Limiting facts to limit discussion, peer-review, free energy

I notice that WtD has instituted a comment policy.  If I were to institute the policy about not posting anything but “facts”, I think that would pretty well eliminate all postings by advocates.  I am curious why when a blog admits only the “facts” it likes, I don’t hear cries of censorship (maybe I will in time).  Requiring commentors to use only approved journals, etc.  is very effective in removing anyone who questions ACC.   If I were to create a list of journals that were acceptable, I suspect there would be protests far and wide.  Why is it that shutting down opposing views on advocate sites is “common sense” and “adherence to facts”, but do the same thing on a questioner’s blog and the screams of “Censorship” can be heard coast to coast?  Limiting information sources should surely count as censorship, if anything does.  (Actually, censorship only applies to the government.  I use the term only because it is commonly used to describe not letting people say whatever they want.)

The policy is new.  Only time will tell if this is actually an attempt to limit the information presented in the comments section.  My guess is the term “non-science quote or website” will show up soon, thus eliminating all disagreement by moderation.  

Perhaps my allowing dissent is a mistake.  If the new normal is to limit information sources, I should not be accepting any information from journals tainted by “groupthink”, which pretty well wipes out climate science journals.  However, since I fully believe that science cannot survive without varying views, I have no intention of following WtD’s lead and banning any inconvenient “facts”.

Peer-reviewed articles:  Scientists who believe and work in climate change deciding which articles to publish in their professional journals.  One would be shocked if there was anything but consensus.  Would a pharmaceutical journal publish an article that said cholesterol was not related to heart attacks and the medication was a waste?   Of course not.  Peers don’t go against their self-interest.  If you want innovation and correction of false or bad theories, you cannot use peer review.

For those who disagree, tell what me you consider the odds that the pharmacy industry will announce  study which showed antidepressants do more harm that good and should be dropped as treatment (should such a study turn up in the future).  What if they were presented with three large, double-blind tests with results that were extremely significant?  What are the odds that a pharmaceutical journal would publish this study/studies?  I’m guessing about the same as peer-reviewed climate change journals publishing studies that show climate change is 99% natural and we can’t change the climate like we were told.

Free energy devices:  If these were real, the IPCC would demand that the UN have said devices put on the market and at a reasonable price, thus eliminating the need for using coal, NG and oil for heating and electricity.  So far, the IPCC has not included this mandate and climate scientists are not screaming out about the conspiracy to block free energy.  No government has moved to have free energy devices installed nationwide as a solution to climate change.  Probably because these are even bigger scams than ACC and much easier to prove false.

(I added this observation due to the huge number of emails I get daily about “free” energy.  I have to wonder how many people actually fall for these scams.  Apparently enough to make the scamming worthwhile, which is sad.) 

Marketing 101

Skeptical Science sent out an email looking for 25 skeptical blogs to participate in a survey of 25 skeptical and 25 believer blogs. The survey concerns “consensus” and involves the use of research abstracts. From an email posted on WUWT: 

As one of the more highly trafficked climate blogs on the web, I’m seeking your assistance in conducting a crowd-sourced online survey of peer-reviewed climate research. I have compiled a database of around 12,000 papers listed in the ‘Web Of Science’ between 1991 to 2011 matching the topic ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’. I am now inviting readers from a diverse range of climate blogs to peruse the abstracts of these climate papers with the purpose of estimating the level of consensus in the literature regarding the proposition that humans are causing global warming. If you’re interested in having your readers participate in this survey, please post the following link to the survey:

(no link posted)

The survey involves rating 10 randomly selected abstracts and is expected to take 15 minutes. Participants may sign up to receive the final results of the survey (de-individuated so no individual’s data will be published). No other personal information is required (and email is optional). Participants may elect to discontinue the survey at any point and results are only recorded if the survey is completed. Participant ratings are confidential and all data will be de-individuated in the final results so no individual ratings will be published.

You can also read these blogs for additional comments:

Two questions:

  1. Why survey bloggers and readers about consensus on AGW using technical abstracts?
  2. Why are abstracts from what has always been described as very technical science being used?

First, SkS has not shown interest in what readers of skeptical blogs think in the past. Generally, skeptics and their blogs are characterized as unscientific individuals with some kind of agenda involving fossil fuels and/or shadow governments. NOW he cares?

It has been repeated over and over and over that laymen cannot understand the complexity of climate science. Yet the study involved reading and ranking abstracts from professional journals. (True, it seems the survey just asks if the survey is neural, pro or against AGW, but that’s still a pretty big judgement call for science so reportedly complex and impossible to understand outside the field.)

Let me get this straight: SkS is surveying unscientific, agenda-driven skeptics using science documents written by individuals with advanced degrees and years of research in the field to determine “consensus” in the literature.

This says “marketing” all over it. How can scientists phrase their abstracts to slant public opinion in their favor (in case those pesky skeptics keep encouraging readers to check the research)?

No climate science here. Just how to sell your product more effectively……



I noticed WatchingtheDeniers is encouraging people to contact their representatives and let them know how you feel.

I would like to encourage everyone to stay in touch with your politicians.  Let your voice be heard.