The Latest "Climate Change" Scandal

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Writing at Power Line, Steven Hayward notes the inherent disingenuousness of an oft-cited ninety-seven percent agreement rate among "climate scientists" on human activity as the cause of global warming:

TV watchers will recall the familiar advertising trope of yesteryear in which we were told "4 out of 5 dentists [or doctors] recommend" using fluoride toothpaste, aspirin for headaches, or some such.  We were always left to wonder whether that fifth doctor was a moron or something, never pausing to consider that the fifth doctor might well recommend the same thing, but emphasize something else first (like flossing perhaps, or Tylenol instead of aspirin because of sensitive stomachs, etc).  But Archie Bunker was coming back on the air in 30 seconds, so most of us didn't follow up on these puzzles.

Likewise we ought to wonder about the favorite cliché of the Climatistas these days--that "97 percent of scientists 'believe in' climate change."  As I've written before, the only real surprise is that the number isn't 100 percent.  There is virtually no one who thinks the climate hasn't changed or won't change in the future, or that there is no human influence on the phenomenon.  The leading so-called "skeptics"--like MIT's Richard Lindzen or Cato's Patrick Michaels or NASA's John Christy or Roy Spencer--would be included in the 97 percent figure.  I'm guessing the outlying 3 percent are actually just anomalies of an arbitrary classification scheme (more on this in a moment) that serve the same point as a magician's misdirection--to get you to buy an illusion.  In this case, the illusion is that the scientific community is nearly unanimous in thinking we're on the brink of catastrophe unless we hand our car keys over to Al Gore. [bold added]
Hayward's guess is correct, but (as they also used to say in other commercials of yesteryear) that's not all. The peer-reviewed publication originating and allegedly supporting this figure has serious weaknesses and, as with CimateGate, its data (which the first author did not intend to share) have been leaked to the Internet and analyzed by others. The rest of the blog entry elaborates on this and provides links for anyone interested in knowing more about this latest bit of legerdemain.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

Perhaps they say four out of five dentists because saying five out of five sounds too contrived.

Gus Van Horn said...

That, and perhaps, even then, they were afraid of frivolous lawsuits.