Claim: Climate Skeptics Swayed by Consensus, Not Evidence

Don’t spit your coffee on your screen…. “Conservatives are less likely to accept the reality of human-caused climate science when presented with supporting scientific evidence. But tell them that 99 out of 100 climate scientists agree on the subject, and conservatives will be more likely to accept that humans are altering the climate, according to a new pilot study.” []

21 thoughts on “Claim: Climate Skeptics Swayed by Consensus, Not Evidence”

  1. Peer review = mutual backscratching. I agree, but independent replication is only half the story – surely real progress is made when we discover what is NOT the case – falsification! Only then can we gain real confidence in science. Pigs, as we know them, can’t fly – fact!

  2. From Snortberts comment:

    “People with very strong free-market support had very high skepticism of climate change,’ said John Cook, a cognitive psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Such individuals also tend to distrust scientists and scientific processes such as peer review, he added.”

    I’ll point out that PEER REVIEW ISN’T SCIENCE. Independent replication is. Peer review (“Joe over there, a PhD, says this work is great!”) is just a form of the logical fallacy of appealing to authority.

    So, do I distrust peer review? You bet, since it isn’t worth jack spit, since it ISN’T science.

  3. 99 doctors out of a hundred fifty years ago said that diet had nothing to do with disease. REALITY CHECK.

  4. MS, we can tell that there is a greenhouse effect. The basic physics don’t change on scale, and radiative absorption and re-radiation is quite basic.

    The question is what the planet does in response, in which basic physics turns into impossible modelling.

    This is one of those things where you can tell the sign of the change, but you cannot tell the magnitude with any certainty.

    For comparison, when Ryan said something stupid and insulting to a well-respected American icon (General Powell supports Obama only because he’s black), and we know that it hurt the Romney/Ryan campaign. However, if you say “that cost Romney 1% of the vote”, I’d call you an idiot. No one can say that with any form of certainty.

  5. The answer to this is quite simple.
    Ever heard of the Chewbacca Defense ( The tactic is simple, present an argument so confusing or frustrating that your opponent shuts up. As an unchallenged point is the winner, you Won.

    When confronted with these sorts of brash statements, the unresearched (often engineers or other educated sorts who just don’t have time for this sort of thing) stop arguing because general disbelief and skepticism has no counter except “I think you’re making stuff up”, and the researched often just give up, thinking that they are dealing with a true believer. “Drunk the Kool-Aid” is the common expression

    On the other hand, confronted with the “evidence”, even highschoolers with knowledge of sophomore chemistry can question the basic theory of amplification (at least back when I was in high school, Le Chartlier’s principle was still taught as the rule and everything else as the exception). Even bright elementary children can say “how do you know that” enough to make the alarmists nervous.

    Now being convinced is an entirely different matter.

  6. How to falsify the AGW/CAGW hypothesis is the biggest problem in the entire debate. Getting the advocates, many of whom have strong scientific backgrounds, to recognize that falsification is the basis of the scientific method is amazingly difficult.

    There is a an amazing game of slapshod texas sharpshooter involved here. A wide array of prediction about the future climate from a wide range of models. No matter what observation we make, there is a model that demonstrates that observation and its link to Green House Gasses. The next observation is made that controverts that model, but there is a different model that shows that that observation is also in accordance with the GHG hypothesis. The two models don’t agree, but together, with their 60 odd brethren, they cover the entire spectrum of possible observations.

    The highly scientific folks like Phil Plait miss the plethora of sources for the answers and believe in the scientists.

  7. Is there a greenhouse effect in the real world? Play around in the lab with glassware and tubing but what really happens in the atmosphere? Does anyone know? I cannot conceive any experiment that could falsify the greenhouse hypothesis; there seem to be (a) too many variables and (b) the atmosphere seems to be chaotic.

  8. Suppose that you are a member of an early human group. It is imperative for the group to stay together and for you to stay with the group. Following tradition and community ways would give the best results back then before engineering, And they give the best results for ordinary living. I trust that the brakes on my car will work almost always. Listening to a preacher prattle on is just a remnant of our evolution.

    In the case of AGW one has to demand more precision on what scientists actually agree on and what they are doing. How many papers do we see reported on that begin with “If the world warms by x, then …”? Those papers may be OK, but they are not agreeing with AWG anymore than speculation about asteroid impacts is agreement that the Earth will be hit by 2100.Do scientists agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas? That truth has been accepted since the middle of the 19th century. The question is do they agree on Hansen’s factor of 3 feedback. Yes implies a big time problem; No does not.

    It is not bad to take the big bang origin of the universe as a fact based of scientific consensus. The trouble with the current debate about global climate is that truth about atmospheric science has elided into questionable speculations.

  9. Saying that 99% of climate scientist agree about AGW is like saying that 99% of all Realtors agree that now would be a good time to buy a new house.

  10. What a crock! Let’s see this “suppoting scientific evidence”. Why does this stuff get out there? (rhetorical question!)

  11. I simply pointed out that the report that no global warming has occurred for sixteen-years. That in the UN’s report, Te African Review,it reveals that it decided to impose a wealth redistribution tax upon the West to benefit Africa, and to stifle protests, would disguise it by creating a Carbon Tax, as being essential to prevent global warming.
    From the reaction in the Huffington Post readers, one would think I had murdered someone, and apparently I am being paid mega bucks by the oil companies – it’s madness..

  12. Correct – politics disguised as science. Question – how can the science be separated out from vested intressts when model builders posing as scientists are milking national exchequers of billions and empirical science is starving.

  13. As every school child would have known before the AGW religion grabbed their teachers – Scientific consensus is an oxymoron.

  14. I hope the warmists at the AGU buy into this argument. Then they will waste their time on something (consensus)that is irrelevent and leave the empirical science to those who know its value.

  15. “People with very strong free-market support had very high skepticism of climate change,’ said John Cook, a cognitive psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Such individuals also tend to distrust scientists and scientific processes such as peer review, he added.”

    I don’t suppose that it ever occurred to Mr. Cook, that the skepticism about the state of science and climate science in particular might be based on experiences such as reading ClimateGate emails or noticing how many scientists use half baked experiments to advance agenda in the areas of pollution control and healthy diets. He might even become more skeptical himself if he would bother to review some of the junk that passes for science recently.

  16. They agree on what? I’m still waiting on someone to produce a list of scientists that agree AGW will be CAGW.

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