Analyzing the Global Warming Alarmist Phenomenon

Martin Cohen sent me an email with a series of links that all look at global warming alarmism as a phenomenon.

In defence of scepticism

By Martin Cohen, editor of the Philosopher

Climate Hysterians have been redoubling their efforts to portray the debate as one between a few cranks (especailly right-wing ones) and ‘scientists’, whereas the truth is very different.  Here, for example, are just four recent substantial articles challenging climate change science, from a neutral or ‘philosophy of science’ perspective.

1. Professor John David Lewis of Duke University, USA, has challenged many of the claims made by proponents of man-made climate change theory, in an article in the prestigious journal Social Philosophy and Policy (Volume 26 No. 2 Summer 2009), saying: ‘Those predicting environmental disasters today focus on particular issues in order to magnify the gravity of their general claims, and they push those issues until challenges make them untenable. Rhetorical skill and not logical argument has become the standard of success.’

2. In a separate review article, published in the Times Higher on the 03 December 2008, Professor Gwyn Prins, the director of the Mackinder Programme for the Study of Long Wave Events at the London School of Economics, says that the ‘principle product of recent science is to confirm that we know less, less conclusively – not more, more conclusively – about the greatest open systems on the planet’, and goes on to predict that for this reason, the ‘Kyoto Flyer’ is about to hit the buffers at Copenhagen.

3. Professor Mike Hulme’s defence of scepticism in the December Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107104574571613215771336.html

4. And (last but not least!) my own feature article ‘Beyond Debate?’, is in the current (10 December 2009, and not on the website, timeshighereducation.co.uk until that date – but well worth a look!) issue of the scuprlously neutral Times Higher Education. None of these accounts are motivated by either improper influence or a right-wing agenda. As my article explains, climate change lobbyists such as Al Gore (and now Gordon Brown!) are:

* Using images, such as the polar bears supposedly trapped on a melting iceberg, ships in a dried up sea as crude propaganda to appeal to people?s fears rather than their reason.

* Presenting irrelevant ‘data’, such as unusual weather events of high summertime temperatures, as though these were connected to the main climate change hypotheses, of carbon dioxide trapping heat, even though this theory in fact only concerns night-time temperatures. All these articles point out that the supposed causal link between carbon dioxide levels and temperatures has no historical basis, and relies instead on computer models that have been shown to be unreliable and misleading. It says that if, for those at, the Copenhagen summit, the idea of manmade global warming is incontrovertible, the consensus is less a triumph of science and rationality than of PR and fear- mongering.

The full text is at:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=409454&c=2

283 thoughts on “Analyzing the Global Warming Alarmist Phenomenon”

  1. I think I answered your question(s) in the end. Like I said, it is nothing you wouldn’t have heard elsewhere. Maybe you are right that AGW will go the way of Noah, that would be great. But the science doesn’t agree with you yet.

  2. Shills,

    “That ‘defending the tribe’ thing only suggests misdemeanours of a select few, not the entire world of climate science.

    I can’t show you that profs. earn’t warning their students. The onus is on the skeptics to give evidence of this conspiracy.”

    Interesting how you can state these two things side by side. Couldn’t a select few in the right places influence the entire field? The entire field doesn’t have to be corrupt here. And don’t these emails suggest a conspiracy, at least at some level?

    “You have no reason to think the survey is dishonestly biased.”

    I also don’t have much (really *any*) evidence that it was properly done either.

    “If the scientists are clearly committing fraud then someone must be getting in trouble for it. By now there have been a lot of eyes focused on climate science.”

    Give it time, we’ve likely only seen the tip of iceberg.

    “Don’t you think that he CRU emails would show more than just the few unethical statements or actions made if there was a major conspiracy?”

    You’re exaggerating my argument by continuing with this “major conspiracy” or “the entire world of climate science” business. I don’t think every last climatologists is in on this, I think a few at the top have distorted the field to favor their beliefs. Really, I thought we’d gone over this.

    “This, remember, was my task in showing evidence for a consensus in the IPCC’s ‘catastrophic’ claims.”

    Which, even if we take it as a given that this survey is representative of the field, we should remind you is still just either an appeal to popular belief or authority, or both. So, you’ve done all this work only to make a fallacious argument.

  3. Anon,

    “Dominating the processes of peer review and scientific publication allowed the pro-AGW camp to significantly increase the number of papers supporting their views and significantly reduce the number of papers going against these views. There is plenty of evidence of that in the emails. This has been going on for years.”

    Its not only in these emails, its in statements of people trying to publish anti-AGW papers that they run into a brick wall during the review process and/or granting process. The emails are simply the smoking gun.

  4. Shills,

    Of course “looking at a consensus” is different from actually using it. Unfortunately you’re “looking” at it only to actually make your appeal.

  5. @Wally:

    “Its not only in these emails, its in statements of people trying to publish anti-AGW papers that they run into a brick wall during the review process and/or granting process. The emails are simply the smoking gun.”

    Yes, absolutely, I agree.

    @Shills:

    “I still think that most of the “yes” answers do not carry much weight in that …”

    “I don’t think so.”

    I think, you don’t, I don’t buy your logic, you don’t buy mine. It would have been better if the questions were more direct, that’s it.

    “I didn’t say there was nothing wrong re. the wiki editing. The wiki stuff doesn’t incriminate either side. Both sides were editing.”

    You might not be familiar with what actually was and still is going on at Wikipedia. In short, not all edits are equal. Some contributors may override others, others may not. It so happens that one of the CRU guys have gotten a hold of Wikipedia pages dedicated to all things climate. As a result, he has been systematically eliminating all edits which run counter to the point of view of catastrophic AGW. The skeptics have been much less “lucky”, or just more honest. Each page on Wikipedia has a history of edits. You can take a look at the edits yourself, or I can post some juicy pieces here.

    Let’s move to the second survey which you offer in order to support your point that there is some kind of consensus among scientists on the content of IPCC reports:

    All questions are formulated such that it is possible to provide answers on the scale of 1 (very likely) to 7 (very unlikely). 4 is “hmmm, hard to say”. I suggest we recalibrate this scale to -3 (very likely) to 0 (hmmm) to 3 (very unlikely) so that the numbers are easier to comprehend.

    * Page 5. Discussion. Table 1. “How well do you think atmospheric climate models can deal with the following processes?” with 6 different processes like, eg, clouds – answers vary from -0.78 to 0.83. This is essentially “ummm, hard to say” with slight nods into “can deal” and “can’t deal”.

    * Page 5. Discussion. Table 2. “How well do you think ocean models can deal with the following processes?”, 5 processes. Same as above.

    * Page 5. Discussion. Table 3. “The current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of:” with 5 choices like sea ice or greenhouse gases – answers vary from -0.32 (hmm, somewhat disagree) to 0.91 (hmm, somewhat agree).

    * Page 6. Discussion. Table 5. “To what degree do you think the current state of scientific knowledge is able to provide reasonable predictions of:” with 4 time periods from “inter-annual variability” to “variability on >100 year scale” – answers vary from 0.01 (hmm, hard to say, really) to 1.11 (I think we are UNABLE to provide reasonable predictions). (If you are wondering about table 4, it is uninteresting, the results are basically: models can not predict future.)

    * Page 7. Conclusion: “As the data seems to suggest, the matter is far from being settled in the scientific arena.”

    * B30. “Climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes.” – 53% are varying degrees of “yes”, 42% are “not sure” or varying degrees of “no”, 5% didn’t answer.

    And now we come to a crown jewel:

    * B37. “To what extent do you agree or disagree that the IPCC reports accurately reflect the consensus of thought within the scientific community?”

    Talk about asking a loaded question. Instead of asking “do you agree with IPCC reports?” they are asking “do you agree that others mostly agree with IPCC reports?”. These are two very different questions.

    As an example: Do I think that discussing AGW is important? Yes. Do I think that others regard this as important as well? Hell, no. Do you, Shills, agree with the science in IPCC reports? The answer is probably “not sure”, because you said you don’t feel like you know enough to understand them. Do you, however, think that others agree with them? Well, yes, that’s what you are arguing here.

    You see? By replacing a direct question with an indirect one, the authors of the report stop measuring consensus on a scientific position (however useless this concept of consensus might be) and start measuring *perceived popularity* of that position.

    Of course, they get a moderate “yes, regardless of what I might think about IPCC reports myself, I think that other people agree with them”.

    B36 is the same.

    That’s quite a consensus.

    I will check out the third survey later.

  6. @ Wally

    Yep bad word ‘looking’. I am not looking, As a lay person, I am using the consensus to indicate that most experts have looked at the evidence and come to broad agreement on the issue. By going with the consensus I go with the scientific confidence, rather than against it, which I argue is more rational. There is no logical fallacy involved.

    @ Anon.

    So re. the little survey.

    Do you think the peeps who answered ‘yes’ believe human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

    Re. the wiki thing. You’re right I know nothin’ about it much. But I don’t yet see any instance of Connolley being in the wrong. Wiki don’t seem to think so. Do you think wiki is rigged?

    You say: ‘Instead of asking “do you agree with IPCC reports?” they are asking “do you agree that others mostly agree with IPCC reports?”. These are two very different questions.’

    Yep. I agree there is a difference, but it doesn’t make it useless. From the data, it seems that most of the respondents perceive the IPCC reports are moderately close to the science.

  7. @Shills:

    “Do you think the peeps who answered ‘yes’ believe human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

    Yes, in that it is significant enough to warrant investigation. No, as in they do not say “yes” to that, in that human activity is a primary driving force behind recent temperature variations.

    “Instead of asking “do you agree with IPCC reports?” they are asking “do you agree that others mostly agree with IPCC reports?”. These are two very different questions.”

    “I agree there is a difference, but it doesn’t make it useless.”

    It does make it useless for the purposes of determining if there is a consensus on the science in IPCC reports. See my examples.

    “From the data, it seems that most of the respondents perceive the IPCC reports are moderately close to the science.”

    No, not at all. From the data, it seems that most of the respondents answer key questions like “is current science advanced enough to make a judgement on the effects of clouds” or “is current science advanced enough to predict the state of climate in X years” or “is climate change mostly human-induced” with “meh, hard to say” with slight nods into “meh, maybe” and “meh, maybe not”. Look at the charts and tables in the survey. It’s all there.

  8. “By going with the consensus I go with the scientific confidence, rather than against it, which I argue is more rational. There is no logical fallacy involved.”

    First, what is your standard of “consensus” exactly? Are you going by “general agreement” or the “solidarity in belief” standard? We can easily point out there is no solidarity and even the “general agreement” hasn’t been established (and the most resent poll you posted even provided evidence that there is a lack of general agreement). Yes, the Earth has warmed in the last ~100-150 years, everyone agrees on that. Yes, humans probably have *some* impact, but there is a large dispute over just how much that *some* really is and how confidently we know that *some*. So, in your argument you’re still falling into the “begging the question” fallacy. You can’t establish that there is a consensus, nor can you establish that a consensus even means you’re more likely to be right.

    Second, you’re still appealing to authority. You can deny it all you want, but that doesn’t change the truth. You’re telling us that the experts are right and we should just believe them because they are experts. Sorry, they have to make their case and prove it, just like everyone else. While I’m not a climatologists, I have a strong background in physics, statistics and mathematical modeling, so they should have no trouble explaining this to me, if its actually true. Unfortunately for them, they are having a lot of trouble explaining to me and many others. Not only do their methods and analysis seem suspect, but so do their ethics.

    Third, if you’re content on just deferring to some assumed consensus, why do you bother talking to us? It should be pretty obvious by now that most of us are here for the very reason that we don’t just defer to the authority. We demand that all conclusions drawn make logical sense and are backed by sound (and ethical!) science. Frankly, that is something that is never going to change about me. That is a fundamental trait required for a scientists, and something that seems to be lacking in some that advocate AGW.

  9. @ Anon.

    You say: ‘It does make it useless for the purposes of determining if there is a consensus on the science in IPCC reports. See my examples.’

    So you think the perceived agreement is an illusion that the respondents mistakenly have?

    That last line of mine you quoted wasn’t referring to the whole survey, just the IPCC question.

    Hey, is that Russian paper of yours doing the rounds?

    @ Wally:

    I’m happy with a general agreement. I think there is a general agreement that most of the warming is AGW. A widespread confidence in a theory would indicate that the theory has strong rigour. I’m not saying that the AGW is more likely correct. Only that the confidence is strong in one direction. It is too messy to apply probabilities to it. If you had nothing else but this joint confidence that A should happen now, would you make A happen now?

    You say: ‘You’re telling us that the experts are right and we should just believe them because they are experts’.

    Never said that.

    I’m saying that it’s more rational to go with the expert agreement if you are a layperson. Whether that applies to you, I dunno. If you can understand the science than sure play with the science.

  10. Shills,

    “I think there is a general agreement that most of the warming is AGW.”

    I think you’re wrong. Your own source above seems to prove that. And at what point do we call something a “general agreement?” 60-40 split, 80-20, 95-5? At what point is something now more likely to be true, and to what extent? This argument just doesn’t work.

    “A widespread confidence in a theory would indicate that the theory has strong rigour.”

    And what happens when that one guy that thinks its BS is right? Does that guy providing his evidence somehow lack rigour?

    “Only that the confidence is strong in one direction. It is too messy to apply probabilities to it.”

    Sorry, but that’s exactly what you need to do. These qualitave measures of likely hood such as “strong” just don’t carry any weight. How many scientists believe X, how often in the past have the same portion of scientists believed anything and been right. That’s the kind of study that would establish how likely you are to be right based on this “general” agreement. Without that we’re just left with these meaningless qualitative statements including “strong” or “general,” and I’m sure we could both give anecodes where the general agreement was right or wrong until we’re blue in the face.

    “I’m saying that it’s more rational to go with the expert agreement if you are a layperson.”

    Which may or may not be true, thus the appeal to authority. It is not an argument based on any sort of facts surrounding the issue at hand, just what a group of people think. Somehow you think you’ve found a loop hole or something in this fallacy. You haven’t.

  11. @ Wally

    You say: ‘I think you’re wrong.’

    Have you checked out the 3rd survey?

    You say: ‘And what happens when that one guy that thinks its BS is right? Does that guy providing his evidence somehow lack rigour?’

    Not at all. If his evidence is good than other scientists will recognise this and change their opinions. The more scientific scrutiny the idea passes through successfully the less problems the idea seems to have, and the more favoured, by those who use science to understand the phenomena, opposed to ideas that haven’t stood up to the same amount of scrutiny.

    You say: ‘Sorry, but that’s exactly what you need to do.’

    Sure it would help, but it’s way impractical. In the wake of such info how would you decide? Or: if 8 out of 10 experts said do this now to prevent further harm what would you do?

    You say: ‘Which may or may not be true, thus the appeal to authority. It is not an argument based on any sort of facts surrounding the issue at hand, just what a group of people think.’

    No, It is based on a bunch of scientists each doin’ some informal bayesian inference in their minds with the available FACTS and evidence and coming to a conclusion that is broadly shared amongst them. If the evidence and facts did not point more in a given direction than you would expect greater variance in opinion. SO, the general agreement is a product of the facts and evidence.

    Rationality isn’t nec. about what is truth or fiction or varying degrees of these. It is also about making informed decisions based on the evidence (and the products of this evidence) that we have. So, at one point the evidence that a dolphin is prob. a fish would be a rational assumption until you look further. What if you had to make a decision on the class of the creature before the further study, what would you say?

    It’s more rational to go with the expert agreement if you are a layperson.” —- not appeal to authority

    The experts are right because they are in agreement———is appeal to authority.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority

  12. @Shills:

    “So you think the perceived agreement is an illusion that the respondents mistakenly have?”

    And you think it is not? Why? We have made a full round now with me asking you to provide proof of the consensus, you bringing up reports which say that most of their audience think that such a consensus exists, and me asking “why” again.

    “Hey, is that Russian paper of yours doing the rounds?”

    It seems there are a couple other folks digging in the same direction now, so, I guess, yes.

  13. @ Anon.

    You say: ‘“So you think the perceived agreement is an illusion that the respondents mistakenly have?”
    And you think it is not? Why? We have made a full round now with me asking you to provide proof of the consensus, you bringing up reports which say that most of their audience think that such a consensus exists, and me asking “why” again.’

    Totally don’t get what you are trying to say here. Can you rephrase?

  14. @Shills:

    At one point in this thread you stated that there is a consensus on AGW. Let’s keep things simple and just refer to this as “the consensus”.

    I asked why do you think so.

    You brought up several surveys, in particular survey #2.

    I said that the relevant question in that survey was “do you agree that others mostly agree with IPCC reports?”, not “do you agree with IPCC reports?”, and thus answers to this question do NOT show whether the consensus exists.

    You ask “So you think the perceived agreement is an illusion that the respondents mistakenly have?”.

    I answer “Yes. If you think otherwise I must ask again – why do you think that the consensus exists and is not an illusion?”.

    My last question “why do you think that the consensus exist?” is exactly like my first one. That is, with respect to survey #2, we have now made a full circle. Survey #1 did not show the consensus either. Survey #3 we have not yet touched. Stay tuned.

  15. Shills,

    “Have you checked out the 3rd survey?”

    I looked through it, yes, but you’ll have to point me towards which part you’re leaning on, because I didn’t seem to find anything that supports your position.

    “The more scientific scrutiny the idea passes through successfully the less problems the idea seems to have, and the more favoured, by those who use science to understand the phenomena, opposed to ideas that haven’t stood up to the same amount of scrutiny.”

    And in the wake of all politicization of this field and the emails providing evidence of rigged peer review, I don’t think we have the necessary “scientific scrutiny” to even care what a poll says. If the deck has been fixed, should we think the guy that won is actually the better player?

    Re: Proving how often a “general agreement” is right:

    Me: ‘Sorry, but that’s exactly what you need to do.’

    You: “Sure it would help”

    It wouldn’t just help, it would take us from hand waving to actually KNOWING. If you want to say its rational to go with the experts’ general agreement you have to prove the general agreement is actually more likely to be right. Otherwise you’re just hand waving. If you find it impractical to do so, tough. You can’t make a statement outside the scope of what your facts support.

    “No, It is based on a bunch of scientists each doin’ some informal bayesian inference in their minds with the available FACTS and evidence and coming to a conclusion that is broadly shared amongst them.”

    And they are capable of being either wrong or biased. Thus, we don’t care what some 80 or 90 percent (or what ever) of scientists say, we care about the evidence itself. In any case, you have no proof that the majority is more likely to be right than the minority.

    “Rationality isn’t nec. about what is truth or fiction or varying degrees of these. It is also about making informed decisions based on the evidence (and the products of this evidence) that we have.”

    Appealing to an authority on what is to be rational is not rational nor logical. You’re twisting yourself into knots trying to defend this illogical and not even factual argument.

  16. @ Anon.

    You say: ‘I answer “Yes. If you think otherwise I must ask again – why do you think that the consensus exists and is not an illusion?”.’

    Lol. You think that those people in the field could be a bad judge of the opinions of the people in their own field? Sure it’s just a judgement but you have no reason to believe that the researchers have it so off the mark. So how’d the researchers propagate such an illusion?

    @ Wally:

    Check out the Climate change impacts part in survey 3.

    You say: ‘I don’t think we have the necessary “scientific scrutiny” to even care what a poll says.’

    You are sceptical of the quality of the science of an entire globe spanning, mutli-decade long inquiry that supports AGW theory. But your little evidence for a globe-spanning rigged peer-review system is enough to convince you it exists.
    You yourself say: ‘You can’t make a statement outside the scope of what your facts support.’

    You say: ‘And they are capable of being either wrong or biased. Thus, we don’t care what some 80 or 90 percent (or what ever) of scientists say, we care about the evidence itself. In any case, you have no proof that the majority is more likely to be right than the minority’

    As a lay person we leave the science to the experts. They are the ones who have analysed the evidence and come to an opinion. they ALSO don’t care about the numbers, just the evidence. The widespread agreement with this theory doesn’t mean there is a better chance that they are right, just better confidence.

    You say: ‘Appealing to an authority on what is to be rational is not rational nor logical.’

    I am not appealing to authority to argue what is rational. I am appealing to a consensus (which is born from evidence) that indicates a high level of confidence in the theory. There is no comparable confidence, or substantial evidence to the contrary of this confidence or the theory itself in the lit. that is casting serious doubt on the theory. Given this, I argue that the more rational choice (given it has to be made) is the one with the confidence and the evidence. The act of evoking authority to help argue that a position is more rational is not illogical. Using expert opinion makes perfect sense, hence govt advisers, expert testimonials in court etc.

    The act of evoking authority to argue that a position is nec. correct is an appeal to authority.

    Does my dolphin analogy work for you? How would you class the animal, given the situation posed?

    Can you show me how my use of the consensus is an appeal to authority rather than just saying it is?

  17. @Shills:

    “Lol. You think that those people in the field could be a bad judge of the opinions of the people in their own field?”

    Yes. People misjudge what other people think all the time. That doesn’t make them bad at what they do, just shows that they are normal people with no supernatural powers.

    “Sure it’s just a judgement but you have no reason to believe that the researchers have it so off the mark.”

    Yes, I have. Besides, I heard that already. I asked you to provide a first-hand source that would demonstrate that the consensus exists. You couldn’t do this yet you continue to press your point. As I said, this is going in rounds.

  18. @Shills:

    Just noticed…

    “they ALSO don’t care about the numbers, just the evidence.”

    Yeah, right, that’s why they hide their source code and delete their data so that noone else can reproduce their results, to name just a few things.

  19. @ Anon.

    You say: ‘Yes, I have. Besides, I heard that already. I asked you to provide a first-hand source that would demonstrate that the consensus exists. You couldn’t do this yet you continue to press your point. As I said, this is going in rounds.’

    You never said ‘first hand’, Anon. Remember when I asked you what kind of sources you would like and you were too slack to give any indication?

    You say: ‘People misjudge what other people think all the time. That doesn’t make them bad at what they do, just shows that they are normal people with no supernatural powers.’

    But in the very field they are a part of? And this isn’t just a minor aspect of the field but the highly visible IPCC. You really think the perception would be no indication at all?

    Anyway, in the 3rd survey the IPCC part poses questions that aren’t based on perception.

  20. @ Anon:

    You say: ‘Yeah, right, that’s why they hide their source code and delete their data so that noone else can reproduce their results, to name just a few things.’

    So who deleted the data, CRU? does that action incriminate all climatology? Did they even delete the data to keep it away from scrutiny or was it for property reasons?

    I said this to Wally and I’ll say it to you: How can you be so skeptical of surveys and years of science but not have any problem of expanding the suspect dealings of a few to an entire field?

  21. @Shills:

    OK, third survey. Consensus on IPCC reports.

    Page 92. Chart 40a. “The IPCC reports accurately reflect the consensus of scientific thought pertaining to … temperature” – the result is 5, which is again “meh, maybe”. As in survey #2, the question is stated not in the form “do you agree with IPCC reports” but rather “do you agree that others agree with IPCC reports”.

    Another question of interest is:

    Page 64. Chart 21. “How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?” – the result is 75% of the way from “not convinced” to “convinced”, with the standard deviation capable of taking it into “don’t know”. You have to remember though that a full quarter of the respondents are authors of IPCC reports (6a+6b). If you take away these folks, the result becomes “don’t know, maybe, maybe not”.

    Which chart was supposed to demonstrate a consensus?

    “You never said ‘first hand’, Anon. Remember when I asked you what kind of sources you would like and you were too slack to give any indication?”

    Correct. Laying out exactly which kind of source with which kind of questions, audience, error bars, etc, I would accept would take me pages and even then I would probably miss some trick. After all, who’d have thought that they would be asking questions like “do you agree that other people agree with X” instead of just “do you agree with X”…

    “You really think the perception would be no indication at all?”

    You continue to ask useless questions. I can answer them (the answer to this question is “perception of a consensus does not mean that it exists”), but this does not really advance us. Please provide a first-hand source or admit that you can’t do this.

    “How can you be so skeptical of surveys and years of science but not have any problem of expanding the suspect dealings of a few to an entire field?”

    I don’t expand the suspect dealings of a few to an entire field. I am saying that it looks like the suspect dealings of a few had a significant effect on the entire field due to positive feedback loops (sic!) created by these select few accepting papers talking in favor of their concepts and rejecting papers talking against them. Authors of accepted “pro” papers would in turn (without any fraud) accept more such papers. Authors of rejected “counter” papers would fail to accept more “counter” papers.

  22. @ Anon.

    Remember, the task is to show that there is an agreement that catastrophic AGW, like that shown in the IPCC, is likely, not nec. agreement across the board with the IPCC. SO this means that respondents that think the IPCC under-estimates the effects are also in agreement with those that think the IPCC is accurate, re. the possibility of catastrophe.

    You say: ‘with the standard deviation capable of taking it into “don’t know”.’

    Umm, congrads. you’ve shown that by using the standev. the majority are above the ‘I don’t know’ (4) part. Why are you caring so much about standev. on such a skewed dist.? Why bother so much with the sum. stats when you can clearly see the distribution graphically? Do you you use the standev. and mean after or before you take out the 25% data (after all the accusations you guys make of data manipulation this is pretty hypocritical).

    Plus why can you take out the IPCC authors?!! You are astounding. You can take out the IPCC contributors for some assumption (you don’t even know what they responded) but I can’t assume the peeps in a given field would have a good idea of the general opinion of the peeps in their same field? Oh my.

    Lol, what exactly is your conclusion from this graph?

    You only look at a few of the questions, what about the rest?

    You say: ‘You continue to ask useless questions. I can answer them (the answer to this question is “perception of a consensus does not mean that it exists”),’

    Yeah, I agree it doesn’t nec. mean it exists but you haven’t shown how it could be so off the mark?

    You say: ‘created by these select few accepting papers talking in favor of their concepts and rejecting papers talking against them.’

    So a few CRU guys might have (can you be more spec.) stopped some papers from going into a particular journal they were reviewing. And somehow everyone else on different editorial boards for different journals gradually decided to do the same thing, uniformly against AGW skepticism? What is your evidence for this feedback?

  23. @Shills:

    OK. Let’s concentrate on 2nd question. Let’s skip the bit on standard deviation, I agree it is too “meta” to opine about.

    Page 64. Chart 21. “How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?” – the result is 75% of the way from “not convinced” to “convinced”, with a full quarter of the respondents being authors of IPCC reports.

    Please note that 75% of the way from “not convinced” to “convinced” is only half-way through from “don’t know” to “convinced”. Not much.

    It is true that I don’t know how that question has been answered individually by each of the asked authors of IPCC reports. I presume, however, that most of them answered “totally convinced” because they are, well, authors of the report supporting this idea. If we subtract them as biased, or, alternatively, if we invite enough people so that the proportion of authors is significantly less (please bear with me), the answer will drift even more towards “don’t know”.

    Is that all you have?

    “You only look at a few of the questions, what about the rest?”

    What about them, indeed?

    “(the answer to this question is “perception of a consensus does not mean that it exists”)”

    “Yeah, I agree it doesn’t nec. mean it exists but you haven’t shown how it could be so off the mark?”

    Yes, I have shown that. See my examples.

    If a person comes to you and asks whether you agree with the science in IPCC reports, your answer, as follows from this thread, is “I don’t know, I am not qualified”. If he then asks whether you agree that other people (scientists) agree with the science in IPCC reports, your answer, as follows from this thread, is “yes”.

    Switching from one question to another changes the answer in your case from “don’t know” to “yes”. So, “it”, indeed, can be off the mark, and I believe that it is.

    “So a few CRU guys might have (can you be more spec.) stopped some papers from going into a particular journal they were reviewing. And somehow everyone else on different editorial boards for different journals gradually decided to do the same thing, uniformly against AGW skepticism?”

    Not all papers or journals publishing on climate change are the same. People from CRU had cosy relationships with editors of several of the key journals which were setting the tone for the rest. They passed several of the key papers (and stopped their critique) with truly astonishing results which had been widely cited because of their amazingness.

    The effect has been large.

  24. @Shills:

    Oh, yes, the evidence of CRU guys passing their papers and stopping countering papers is in the Climategate emails. There are other sources as well, but this is perhaps the most accessible one.

  25. @ Anon:

    You say: ‘Page 64. Chart 21. “How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?” – the result is 75% of the way from “not convinced” to “convinced”, with a full quarter of the respondents being authors of IPCC reports.’

    Why aren’t you using the median which is typically better indicator of central tendency in skewed dist.? lol, you might have if it were skewed the other way? Just look at the graph over 83% of respondents fall from ‘possibly’ to ‘very much’ with over 65% of the total respondents in the ‘likely’ and above. And the question states ‘most’ of the warming. So a graph that merely said something to the gist ‘half’ or a ‘third’ ( still over your skeptical opinion) would probably look even more negatively skewed.

    You say: ‘it is true that I don’t know how that question has been answered individually by each of the asked authors of IPCC reports. I presume, however, that most of them answered “totally convinced” because they are, well, authors of the report supporting this idea. If we subtract them as biased, or, alternatively, if we invite enough people so that the proportion of authors is significantly less (please bear with me), the answer will drift even more towards “don’t know”.’

    This is one of the stupidest things I’ve heard from you.
    Just because you have worked on the IPCC doesn’t mean you agree that most of the warming is man-made. The point of the IPCC is that they look at all view points. remember, and come to a synthesis. Contributing authors don’t cover every topic, only one chapter. You don’t even know what AR they worked on. Maybe they changed their minds? Maybe the IPCC isn’t biased? HEY! why don’t I get rid of a bunch of the negative responses because some are prob. being paid off by the oil companies!! Again, for someone who’s so worked up about supposed data manipulation this is hypocritical

    But the most important point: even if most of that 25% did say ‘yes’ why should their opinion be discounted? They are experts like everyone else in the poll. Do you think that everyone who works for the IPCC is tainted or something? Really.

    You say: ‘If a person comes to you and asks whether you agree with the science in IPCC reports, your…

    If a skeptic climate scientist is asked for his opinion, he might so ‘no’. If asked for his perception of the climate science community he might say ‘yes’. Both answers are fine. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t the same, because they are different questions. The one being asked is for a perception of the community in which they spend their professional lives working in. They go to meetings, conferences etc. They would not have a greatly inaccurate perception of their own field. Your example which includes me and you is silly because we are not part of that community.

    Have you looked at the other IPPC graphs? the ones that use the 4 as ‘accurate’ in between under-estimate and over-estimates. These ones show that an almost-consistent 80% of respondents agree that the relevant level of impacts, as described by the IPCC, is possible. In fact a fair portion think the IPCC under-estimates it.

    You say: ‘People from CRU had cosy relationships with editors of several of the key journals which were setting the tone for the rest.’

    What evidence to you have for this? What do you mean by ‘cozy’? You are saying that the scientific process has been discarded in favour of personal connections? Why would the other editors be compelled to do what the CRU guys say? Where in the emails is this theory supported and what are your less ‘accessible’ clues to the greatest deception in history?

  26. @Shills:

    “Why aren’t you using the median which is typically better indicator of central tendency in skewed dist.?”

    I am using the measure used on that page by the authors of the survey.

    “Just because you have worked on the IPCC doesn’t mean you agree that most of the warming is man-made. … Again, for someone who’s so worked up about supposed data manipulation this is hypocritical.”

    I don’t imply that the answers in the survey were dishonest or that the final results have been manipulated. Careful, please.

    “Even if most of that 25% did say ‘yes’ why should their opinion be discounted? They are experts like everyone else in the poll.”

    They are experts which have been accepted as authors of IPCC reports, reports that proclaim catastrophic AGW. That’s a strong selection criteria. It is bound to show itself in any survey related to climate which these authors participate in.

    “If a skeptic climate scientist is asked for his opinion, he might so ‘no’. If asked for his perception of the climate science community he might say ‘yes’. Both answers are fine. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t the same, because they are different questions. The one being asked is for a perception of the community in which they spend their professional lives working in. They go to meetings, conferences etc. They would not have a greatly inaccurate perception of their own field.”

    So, they won’t answer “yes” to one question and “no” to another? I don’t buy it at all. Besides, why guess. Show me a survey with a direct question and the majority of people answering “yes” to it. So far, you have been unable to do this, and we have been through three surveys already.

    “People from CRU had cosy relationships with editors of several of the key journals which were setting the tone for the rest.”

    “What evidence to you have for this?”

    Emails. See Climategate.

    “What do you mean by ‘cozy’?”

    I mean that the editors were letting people from CRU know in advance of papers preparing to be published by their opponents, that they were dragging feet publishing such papers while printing papers coming from CRU in record times, and so on and so forth. The evidence of this is again, in the emails.

    “You are saying that the scientific process has been discarded in favour of personal connections?”

    Yes.

    “Why would the other editors be compelled to do what the CRU guys say?”

    Ask them.

    “Where in the emails is this theory supported and what are your less ‘accessible’ clues to the greatest deception in history?”

    Let’s save it for another discussion. The characteristic phrase from the emails is this:

    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    Less accessible clues are the emails that weren’t in the leaked archive, the code (with comments), the FTP logs (which, for example, show that people at CRU have rarely been held up to a standard of making data they lean upon in their papers accessible to general public, that is common to scientific journals, and sometimes were deleting that data shortly after the paper has been published), and the data, FOIA’d and not yet FOIA’d alike.

  27. Forgot one more less accessible “clue” – exchanges with journals by the authors of dissenting papers.

  28. @ Anon.

    Anon. They give the mean and median for every graph. For such skewed data the median is typically a better measure of central tendency. Either you know this and are being disingenuous with me, and yourself, or you don’t. And possibly this throws suspicion on your ability to read the climate data after all.

    You say: ‘I don’t imply that the answers in the survey were dishonest or that the final results have been manipulated. Careful, please.’

    No. I didn’t say that you implied the answers in the survey were dishonest. I’m saying that YOU are manipulating the data, which is hypocritical.

    You say: ‘They are experts which have been accepted as authors of IPCC reports, reports that proclaim catastrophic AGW. That’s a strong selection criteria. It is bound to show itself in any survey related to climate which these authors participate in.’

    Firstly, the IPCC takes in all viewpoints and creates a synthesis. They are not bent on proving AGW theory, they are simply synthesising the general understanding of the science, be it for or against AGW. I’m sure they would gladly look at any dissenting opinions as long as they seem genuine.

    You say: ‘That’s a strong selection criteria’

    How does the selection criteria support your argument?

    Secondly, So what is your point? re. ‘bound to show itself in any survey related to climate’. They are experts. They look at the evidence. Their opinions would show itself in a survey. Big deal. Where is the problem, Anon?

    Thirdly, you don’t address any of the uncertainties I stated in the last post.

    There is no reason why they should be excluded.

    You say: ‘So, they won’t answer “yes” to one question and “no” to another? I don’t buy it at all. ‘

    What? I said that they could answer ‘yes’ to one and ‘no to another, because they are different questions. Maybe scientists are honest and aren’t afraid to admit that their opinion is not the shared one.

    You say: ‘Besides, why guess. Show me a survey with a direct question and the majority of people answering “yes” to it. So far, you have been unable to do this, and we have been through three surveys already.’

    The very first survey (Zimmerman) had the majority saying yes to AGW being significant.

    The one about most of the warming being human-induced is one with the majority saying yes.

    the ones in the IPCC section that use the 4 as ‘accurate’ in between under-estimate and over-estimates. Around 80% think the IPCC have it accurately or under the mark.

    Re. your general deception theory:

    Your gonna need to show some evidence to support your ideas, instead of just stating them. The most crucial being the alleged anti-scientific effect the CRU guys had over all the journals and, climatology in general. This is, as far as I know, not shown in the emails. The quote you gave of the intention to stop the papers going to IPCC was not effectual. The papers were reviewed by the IPCC.

    You say: ‘ask them’

    The onus is on you to show evidence of this deception.

  29. @Shills:

    “They give the mean and median for every graph. For such skewed data the median is typically a better measure of central tendency.”

    I didn’t notice they give the median as well. I am sorry for that. Let’s use the median.

    “I’m saying that YOU are manipulating the data, which is hypocritical.”

    Ouch. I used one of the measures they provided. Admittedly, using another measure which they provided as well would have been more appropriate, but saying that I am manipulating the data is a bit much. I didn’t use any fudge factors, like some of these guys, you know.

    “Firstly, the IPCC takes in all viewpoints and creates a synthesis. They are not bent on proving AGW theory, they are simply synthesising the general understanding of the science, be it for or against AGW. I’m sure they would gladly look at any dissenting opinions as long as they seem genuine.”

    I can’t help but laugh at that. This is why Jones writes to the other guy that they should get papers of critics removed from the next IPCC report even if it would mean “redefining the meaning of peer-review”. And this is why repeated comments from a few grudgingly acceptic skeptic reviewers like Steve McIntyre that, say, urge the relevant CRU guy to not stop the graph at a certain point and show all data are met with “no, that would be inappropriate”. Yeah, right.

    “How does the selection criteria support your argument?”

    Asking “how old are you?” in a kindergarten is bound to provide results centering around 3-4 years, don’t you think? Similarly, asking guys whose report says that we have catastrophic AGW, whether they support the concept of catastrophic AGW or not, is bound to produce a “yes”.

    “They are experts. They look at the evidence. Their opinions would show itself in a survey. Big deal. Where is the problem, Anon?”

    You can’t say “hey, there are many people who agree with me” and then point back to yourself as a proof. This survey does just that, in that a large number of participants are authors of the report that you want to measure consensus on, and are biased.

    I am not sure how more clear I can be here.

    “What? I said that they could answer ‘yes’ to one and ‘no to another, because they are different questions. Maybe scientists are honest and aren’t afraid to admit that their opinion is not the shared one.”

    OK. Now remember that this line started with me objecting to use questions like “do you agree that others agree with X” instead of “do you agree with X”. I said that positive answers to the first question do not imply positive answers to the second question. I thought that your remark meant that you disagree, but if you agree, then, well, you agree that we can’t use that question to measure the consensus.

    And this closes it, then. You agree that neither of your surveys show any kind of proof that there is a consensus on the science in IPCC reports.

    I suggest we save the topic of Jones and others manipulating scientific opinion for another day.

  30. And, speaking of a summary of our arguments on the surveys in this thread:

    Survey 1. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

    We agreed that answering “yes” to this question is in no way an endorsement of the notion of catastrophic AGW in general or the science in IPCC reports in particular.

    Survey 2. Climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes – yes or no?

    53% are varying degrees of “yes”, 42% are “not sure” or varying degrees of “no”, 5% didn’t answer. If you would argue that 53% is still the majority, I won’t stop you.

    Survey 3. The IPCC reports accurately reflect the consensus of scientific thought pertaining to temperature – yes or no?

    The answer is a weak “meh, maybe”. If you want to pick a fight over a different question, I won’t stop you either.

  31. @ Anon:

    YOu say: ‘I didn’t notice they give the median as well. I am sorry for that. Let’s use the median.’

    Are you that blind or you just don’t know what a boxplot is? I’m sorry but I really doubt your ability to ‘look at the science’ now.

    You say: ‘Ouch. I used one of the measures they provided. Admittedly, using another measure which they provided as well would have been more appropriate, but saying that I am manipulating the data is a bit much. I didn’t use any fudge factors, like some of these guys, you know.’

    The manipulation I’m talking about is your exclusion of the 25%.

    you say: ‘I can’t help but laugh at that. This is why Jones writes to the other guy that they should get papers of critics removed from the next IPCC report even if it would mean “redefining the meaning of peer-review”. And this is why repeated comments from a few grudgingly acceptic skeptic reviewers like Steve McIntyre that, say, urge the relevant CRU guy to not stop the graph at a certain point and show all data are met with “no, that would be inappropriate”. Yeah, right.’

    Dude, those papers made it into the IPCC’s assessment! they didn’t last long though. This is actually evidence that the IPCC does look at all view points.

    You say: ‘You can’t say “hey, there are many people who agree with me” and then point back to yourself as a proof. This survey does just that, in that a large number of participants are authors of the report that you want to measure consensus on, and are biased.’

    The question that you were taking the 25% off doesn’t say anything about agreeing with the IPCC.

    You say: ‘…but if you agree, then, well, you agree that we can’t use that question to measure the consensus.’

    We have muddled ourselves into confusion. I am saying that a survey that asks for a perception of the community in which that person is from is not too far off the mark because they spend all their time in that community. So, no, I don’t agree with you that the perception would be useless.

    You say: ‘Survey 3. The IPCC reports accurately reflect the consensus of scientific thought pertaining to temperature – yes or no?
    The answer is a weak “meh, maybe”. If you want to pick a fight over a different question, I won’t stop you either.’

    Why are you ignoring the: is most warming human-induced graph in survey 3? You have not shown that it is biased.

    And the IPCC section ones that ask for an opinion–not a measure of ‘perception’.

  32. OMG. I am blind, manipulating data, Jones saying that he will eschew dissenting opinions no matter what means that he and others are actually considering them, “survey” equals “question”, and after answering all the silly questions for the umpteenth time I am ignoring you.

    Have fun, boy.

  33. Anon: ‘I didn’t notice they give the median as well. I am sorry for that. Let’s use the median.’

    Shills: Are you that blind or you just don’t know what a boxplot is? I’m sorry but I really doubt your ability to ‘look at the science’ now.

    Forgive me for interrupting, but which box plot was actually using the median (which question and which survey)? And I have to disagree on the use of the median over the mean, pretty much regardless of which question it was. Maybe when we’re talking about a sampling of some distribution of that looks like 90, 100, 101, 10000. But in this case we only have a dynamic range of what 7? Plus, we have fairly large sample sizes so one or two outliers isn’t going to kill your mean given this kind of range. And most questions answered weren’t particularly skewed anyway.

    “Dude, those papers made it into the IPCC’s assessment! they didn’t last long though. This is actually evidence that the IPCC does look at all view points.”

    But did they not “last long” because Phil Jones torpedoed them as he said he was going to try and do? Remember just referencing something, doesn’t mean you actually agree with it or used it to make your conclusions.

  34. Oh, that will teach me never to take what Shills says at its face value. I thought I missed a number cited on the page along with the mean and trusted Shills enough not to recheck. Turns out I missed two big boxes out of possible 6 positions whose location somehow signals that the consensus is better than the one given by a numeric value of 5.678 that I used.

    Details: The boxes are 5-6 and 6-7, on the interval of 0-7. A good part of the second box has to be ignored according to the methodology cited in the beginning of the paper, as the boxes are supposed to show 50% of median answers. The “median” line for the boxes is at 6 only because the resolution is too coarse, sort of how the earlier number of 5.678 rounds to 6. Saying that the measure of the consensus is “6” instead of “5.678” is nothing more than doing this rounding.

    Thanks for calling that out, Waldo. And I almost bought it, like we weren’t fooled enough by CRU and the rest. Unbelievable.

  35. @ Wally

    You’re back. Could you tell me how I was making the appeal to authority logical fallacy?

    the graph we were talking about is Q. 21, p. 64.

    You say: ‘But did they not “last long” because Phil Jones torpedoed them as he said he was going to try and do? Remember just referencing something, doesn’t mean you actually agree with it or used it to make your conclusions.’

    The papers would have been discussed and jointly decided on. So Jones alone would not have been able to dismiss the papers.

    @ Anon.

    Not sure what to say. We are/were having an argument. If I’ve been doing so unfairly I’d like to know how. If you’d like to change tack we could instead focus on your evidence for the manipulative powers of the CRU guys. Or we can go to different surveys:

    This survey takes flak from all fronts.

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/survey.pdf

    This one is dif. in that it looks at published paper abstracts instead of opinions

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

    And this is just a wiki which links to statements of varying degrees of explicit or implicit agreement with the IPCC and AGW theory. They are not all within the range of what I’d call experts in the field.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#cite_note-78

    As a relevant aside. I think the inquest into the CRU hack, and the suspicious emails will be finalised near the end of january so, that should be something interesting to look at.

  36. @ Anon:

    Lol. I don’t think that was what Wally was saying.

    You say: ‘A good part of the second box has to be ignored according to the methodology cited in the beginning of the paper, as the boxes are supposed to show 50% of median answers.’

    What? Don’t understand. Is this your take-25%-off claim or something else?

    You say: ‘ Saying that the measure of the consensus is “6″ instead of “5.678″ is nothing more than doing this rounding.’

    The median is 6, that is not a rounding. the middle response in the entire sample is 6. The edges of the boxes only tell you that the lowest answer in the 2nd quartile was a 6 and the highest answer in the 3rd quartile was a 7. It doesn’t tell you much about the nature of the distribution around those points. That’s why you look at the graph, which clearly shows the distribution better than any sum. stats or boxplot. Around 83% are on the ‘yes’ side of ambiguity with over 66% going from ‘likely’ to ‘very much’.

    I posted something earlier with lots of links in it but didn’t turn up yet so this one is actually after the one with the links.

  37. Page 3. “The boxes contain the 50% of total values falling between the 25th and 75th percentile, meaning that 50% of the cases have values within the box, 25% have values larger than the upper boundary and 25% have values less than the lower boundary.”

    The intent is to ignore 25% of the lower voices and 25% of the higher voices. The way boxes are drawn for the chart we are discussing, 25% of the higher voices are in. If the resolution of the boxes was smaller (there were more gradations available for the answers), the median on the boxes would have been less than 6.

    Same for median on the answers, but you were discussing boxes, not the chart (your phrase: “Are you that blind or you just don’t know what a boxplot is?”).

    I hope we are done with this.

  38. @ Anon:

    Umm. I think you might have confused things.

    You say: ‘The intent is to ignore 25% of the lower voices and 25% of the higher voices.’

    No, none of the data is being ignored. The box just shows where 50% of the responses are around the median. Everything outside still counts

    You say: ‘The way boxes are drawn for the chart we are discussing, 25% of the higher voices are in. ‘

    If you are saying the 4th quartile, the highest 25%, is included in the box then you are mistaken. The reason you can’t see any whiskers is because the 3rd quartile’s highest value is a 7, hence there is no room to put the whiskers. The 3rd quartile contains a 7 as its highest point (hence the box edge being at 7) and the whiskers contain an extra 25% of answers, all 7. Just look at the percentages on the graph. bar 7 has 34.59% of responses, so the highest 25% must be in there.

    You say: ‘If the resolution of the boxes was smaller (there were more gradations available for the answers), the median on the boxes would have been less than 6.’

    No. If there were say 14 choices (1,1.5,2,2.5…) with the same distribution. There is every chance the median could be 6.5, because the median falls in the upper half (just) of the 6 choices. If you don’t want to take me at face value than do the maths, the percentages are all there.

    You say: ‘Same for median on the answers,’

    You mean the mean? Why?

    You say: ‘but you were discussing boxes, not the chart (your phrase: “Are you that blind or you just don’t know what a boxplot is?”).’

    Repeatedly I have suggested you just look at the graph.

  39. Well. Assuming I have covered your issue with the graph, I think it is a good bit o’ evidence for the claim that AGW is happening a lot more than the skeptics think.

    The questions which ask for an opinion of the degree of accuracy (4 being accurate) for the IPCC on the magnitudes of various issues such as temp, sea level and extreme events, shows that the IPCC is mostly agreed upon. In fact, a good percentage think it understates the magnitudes.

    Even if we take off Anon’s 25% and assume they answered 4, the mean would stay around 4, leaning to the left (under-state). Meaning the IPCC is seen as accurate by about a third, seen by a third as understating the magnitudes, and overstating the magnitute by the remaining third. So that is two thirds that think the IPCC’s predicted magnitudes are possible.

    The links I tried to post earlier haven’t turned up yet so I’ll post ’em individually.

    This one has taken flak from all fronts:

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frsgc/research/d5/jdannan/survey.pdf

  40. Anon. I know your not ignoring me but merely havin’ a short break. You still unsure about the median business? When can I see your evidence for the mass deception theory?

    And when will Wally explain how I’ve made the appeal to authority logical fallacy?

  41. So why the quitin’ ?

    Things get too hard for you and you give up?

    Was I been unfair?

    Wanna talk it thru?

    Maybe I had a point?

    You guys learn something ?

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