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:

8 comments on “John Cook survey updated

  1. Skeptikal: Thanks for the link. It’s an excellent writeup.

  2. Skeptikal says:

    Latest on Cook’s survey at populartechnology…

    “Dr. Richard Tol has been tweeting a statistical destruction of the “97% consensus” study, Cook et al. (2013) by educating co-author Dana Nuccitelli as to why his “sample” is not representative.”

  3. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    In deference to Poptech I’ll link this one too which was very funny.

    John Cook of UQ works closely with Stefan Lewandowsky from UWA. I am embarrassed that academics such as these can gain employment in our Aussie university system. Their methods discredit science, which I love.

    I am very sad that science has been denatured by the ideological imperative of the CAGW people. I always wanted to be a scientist, and am privileged to have become one, but these people are destroying my profession. It should not be about ideology. Science is what it is, not what you want it to be for political purposes

    Sorry, its something I feel quite sad about.

  4. I have a bit more time now to address Glenn’s complaint. IF we were talking about scientific research, only ONE paper that disproves a theory is needed to destroy a theory. We usually wait until a few more come out, but it only takes one.

    IF this were legitimate social science research and climate change were merely about opinions, Glenn would have a point. Equal numbers of people in each study would be ideal. It’s not required, but it is usually better.

    However, John Cook did MARKETING research–how to sell AGW. He was looking for a way for scientists to sell their product. It’s the same as “4 out 5 dentists surveyed recommend Bob’s Shiny Toothpaste”. Or, in Cook’s case, 4 out 5 dentists surveyed, who had an opinion, recommend Bob’s. In marketing, the opposing side need only show that there are those who disagree with Bob in order to put doubt in the mind’s of the buyer.

    If this were about science and not marketing, then a different response to the claim would have been needed. When climate scientists try to move to the social science arena and still claim we have to play by hard science rules, they show their lack of understanding of actual science itself.

  5. populartechnology says:

    I like to refer to Glenn as,

    Glenn “tag-team” Tamblyn

  6. populartechnology says:

    Poor Glenn, co-founder of the SS “Crusher Crew” falls for my years old troll about my last name.

    Not to mention I emailed many more than just those 3 scientists as Dr. Toll was an independent inquiry.

    I have no need to email any of the authors on my list because I am not falsely implying a position to their papers but whether a paper can be used to support a skeptic argument (which may have nothing to do with the author).

  7. Perhaps you should take that up with Andrew Kahan.

  8. Glenn Tamblyn says:


    The relevant paragraph from Cook et al 2013:

    We emailed 8547 authors an invitation to rate their own
    papers and received 1200 responses (a 14% response rate).
    After excluding papers that were not peer-reviewed, not
    climate-related or had no abstract, 2142 papers received
    self-ratings from 1189 authors. The self-rated levels of
    endorsement are shown in table 4. Among self-rated
    papers that stated a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed
    the consensus. Among self-rated papers not expressing a
    position on AGW in the abstract, 53.8% were self-rated as
    endorsing the consensus. Among respondents who authored
    a paper expressing a view on AGW, 96.4% endorsed the

    In contrast Andrew Kahan only emailed 4 recognized Climate Skeptic scientists for their views. Not much of a sample by him was it?

    Maybe Andrew should do what we did for his supposed list of skeptical papers; email the authors of all of them to see what the authors of the papers think compared to his assessment.

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