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……



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