Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October, 2015, Part 2, I Am A Global Warming Doubtrer and A Believer In Science: Skewering The 97% Myth

Every month we have enough material to return to a continuing theme in this blog, namely that “I am a global warming doubter AND a believer in science.”This became of interest because of people like Al Gore who fanatically and verbosely claimed that you had to be an idiot to not believe in manmade global warming. It has been my life belief that anyone that is that loud and that obnoxious is hiding something, that rather than argue facts and reality it is better to beat down and insult anyone who disagrees.

As we have dove into the whole issue of manmade global warming, or its new rebranded title of climate change, we found that Al Gore and people like him were guilty of a number of things:
  • Ignoring science and realities that did not support their opinions and positions.
  • Rather than have an adult conversation about climate, these types of advocates like Gore sank to the level of insulting those who dared look at ALL science by calling them a variety of names including racists, homophobes, terrorists, flat earth believers, and other slanderous names.
  • Continuing to insist that politicians step up their intrusions into our lives with higher taxes, more regulations, and more control on our freedoms and standards of living based on a shaky theory at best.
To see the past posts and the multitude of evidence that we have compiled that showed it is perfectly okay to be a global warming doubter and a believer in science, enter the phrase "global warming doubter” in the search box above or go through the monthly historical post listed on the right side of this page.

Thus, let’s see the latest facts and science that prove you can be a global warming doubter and a believer in science, regardless of what Al Gore proclaims. Today we will focus only on the infamous 97% number and showoing how bougs it is.

1) Ian Tuttle, writing for the National Review, did a fabulous job showing how the infamous 97% number came from, a number that people like Al Gore and Barack Obama like to throw around to prove that anyone who is a global warming doubter is going against 97% of the climate scientists and experts in the world. The implication is how could you people be so stupid relative to the experts?

Well, Mr. Tuttle does a complete deconstruction of why that 97% number is bogus. What is interesting is that his research is so thorough that he actually finds different approaches that were used to get to the 97% myth and how each of those approaches is fatally flawed.

- According to the article, the first 97% number appeared in a 2009 University of Illinois survey study that had some serious flaws:
  • The number was derived by a masters student, Kendall Zimmerman, and her advisor, Peter Doran.
  • Thus, we are not talking about a well seasoned scientist, a PhD expert, or someone who has a long history in doing survey study work, we are talking about a student who does not even have her masters degree at the time.
  • Her study consisted of, hold your breath, a two question online study. So participants in the study had the option of not responding to the survey, something that probably introduced bias into the study if it was not controlled for in the sample, something that does not appear to have been done.
  • As a result, only 5% of the survey respondents, only about 160 people, were actually climate scientists, making statistical validity a little shaky, given the small sample size.
  • But it gets worse. The 97% number was calculated off of a sample size that was half that size, 79 respondents.
  • These 79 respondents were self-reported climate scientists which makes it impossible to tell if they actually were climate scientists or were mediocre climate scientists since they self reported.
  • Out of this extremely small sample of 79, 77 of those agreed that global warming was caused by mankind.
As a statistician with an advanced degree in statistics, this is a horrible way to develop wide ranging conclusions. The sample size is very small. likely too small to do any extrapolation to the real world. I am sure that there are many, many more climate scientists in the world than 79. These 79 respondents are self-reported so there is no way to check if they are good or bad scientists or if they actually are climate scientists. 

And there is no way to check for response bias. It could be that the good climate scientists or those with a different opinion than the small number that responded could not be bothered answering a two question survey from someone who does not even have their masters degree yet.

- In 2010 William R. Love Anderegg, a student at Stanford University, not a Phd,not an expert, a STUDENT, used Google Scholar in his analysis to conclude that “97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field surveyed here support the tenets of ACC [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” 

Again, major problems with this analysis and approach. The sample size in this study was a little larger, 200, but still probably not large enough to be extrapolated to the entire universe of climate scientists in particular and scientists in general. As with the Illinois study, there is no indication if these were smart climate scientists or dumb climate scientists, whether they were self reported climate scientists, etc. in order to determine the quality of their knowledge and responses. 

And finally this study was done by a student, not a season scientists or Phd expert. Are we willing to accept their conclusions and develop national policies based on two small, probably biased survey studies by students with respondent samples that are suspect? I think not.

- According to Mr. Tuttle, “Surely the most suspicious “97 percent” study was conducted in 2013 by Australian scientist John Cook — author of the 2011 book "Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand and creator of the blog Skeptical Science.” This study had some serious flaws also:
  • Mr. Cook obviously has a financial stake in the 97% number since he probably wants to sell more books and get traffic to his website, both of which advocate for manmade global warming.
  • At first glance, Cook claims to have done an analysis of 12,000 scientific abstracts where he found “a 97% consensus among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are responsible.” This large number of abstracts obviously overcomes the flaws in the previously discussed survey studies above where there were only 79 respondents in one study and only 200 in another.
  • But “Among papers taking a position” is a significant disclaimers since only 34% of the papers Cook looked had any opinion about anthropogenic climate change at all. Thus, our sample size has now been cut by two thirds and is not the lofty 12,000 abstracts and papers claimed on the surface.
  • Since Cook decided that 33% of those supported the mankind causing global warming theory, he simply divided 33%by 34% to get 97%. Not real scientific.
  • David Legates, a University of Delaware professor who once lead that university’s Center for Climatic Research tried to recreate Cook’s study and approach, a tried and true and widely accepted approach to verifying scientific conclusions, he found that “only 41 papers — 0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent,” supported what Cook’s 97% conclusion.
  • Additionally, several scientists whose papers were included in Cook’s initial sample took exception that their work had been misinterpreted by Cook.
  • “Significant questions about anthropogenic influences on climate remain,” Legates concluded.
Since it appears that Dr. Legates is also a potential global warming doubter, we have another scienctific voice that supports the concept that being a global warming doubter and believer in science is a sane and rational approach to take.

Mr. Tuttle’s entire article can be read at:

2) But this is not the first time that we have discussed Mr. Cook’s analysis. In one of our blog posts from back on September 18, 2014, we went into more detail of how he got to his conclusions, writing at that time:

“One of the biggest fallacies going around to support the probably faulty theory that humanity’s actions are causing massive global warming and/or climate change is the statistic that 97% of scientists agree that climate change is real, man made, and dangerous. If this stat is true, then why are we even having a conversation about global warming, let’s fix it right away, there cannot be any doubt.

But that is a big if, even if the President has been spouting it off. A recent report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation explained why this is such a bogus number:
  • The original 97% claim first appeared in a research paper by Australian global warming advocate John Cook.
  • The paper drew its conclusions having allegedly reviewed 12,000 papers on climate change and claimed that the vast majority of them supported the “consensus” on global warming.
  • But Cook defined “consensus as having two and only two components: 1) that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas and 2) human activities have warmed the planet to some unspecified extent.
  • There was no quantitative or benchmark criteria used, just an unspecified extent, hardly a scientific approach or analysis. Thus, under Cook’s definition, even if a scientists conceded there was a less than 1% probability of manmade global warming, that scientist would be considered part of the 97% consensus.
  • Keep in mind that John Cook’s Internet home is a global warming advocate website called Skeptical Science so he has a vested interest in global warming propaganda. 
  • Unfortunately for Cook, a security lapse at his site in 2012 led to the uncovering of private email exchanges between Cook and his co-conspirators: “It’s essential that the public understands that there’s a scientific consensus on AGW. So [Skeptical Science activists] Jim Powell, Dana [Nucitelli] and I have been working on something over the last few months that we hope will have a game changing impact on the public perception of consensus. Basically, we hope to establish that not only is there a consensus, there is a strengthening consensus.”
  • This is not science, this is public relations and propaganda since the conclusions were drawn and done before any research into whether there was a consensus was conducted.
And that is how bogus science passes for real science in the world of politics and vested interests."

And Gore and Obama and others like them want to change our economy and our lifestyle, and not for the better based on extremely small and biased sample size surveys done by college students, not experts, and by people that have an answer they want to hit before they do any scientific analysis and study, the complete antithesis of science and the scientific method. Pathetic and despicable and unbelievably deceitful

More analysis and science tomorrow where we continue to prove that being a global warming doubter and a believer in science is really the correct reality today.

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