In response to the Cook et.al paper, the sceptic movement is going into a tailspin of denial. They’ve also started their desperate attempts to wave away the evidence.
According to our intrepid duo, only 32.6% of the papers surveyed by the Cook paper made a positive statement that climate change was human induced. In Watts word the maths is “borked”.
Everyone take a deep sigh…
First the methodology is very clear.
To quote from Skeptical Science:
We found that about two-thirds of papers didn’t express a position on the subject in the abstract, which confirms that we were conservative in our initial abstract ratings. This result isn’t surprising for two reasons: 1) most journals have strict word limits for their abstracts, and 2) frankly, every scientist doing climate research knows humans are causing global warming. There’s no longer a need to state something so obvious. For example, would you expect every geological paper to note in its abstract that the Earth is a spherical body that orbits the sun?
This result was also predicted by Oreskes (2007), which noted that scientists
“…generally focus their discussions on questions that are still disputed or unanswered rather than on matters about which everyone agrees”
However, according to the author self-ratings, nearly two-thirds of the papers in our survey do express a position on the subject somewhere in the paper.
The reason all those thousands of papers do not need to make a positive or negative statement is that it is assumed climate change is happening.
Why restate the obvious? How many papers in astronomy start with “As many people know, the Earth orbits the sun….”
Some things are just that obvious – the same here.
Those pushing the “But it’s only 32.6% thus no consensus!” argument are failing to understand a methodology routinely applied across multiple disciplines – not just in this paper.
This is not hard stuff: this is basic statistics. Basic science. And well, just basic.
Like at the early-high-school level. It is not hard to understand unless you really, really don’t want to understand.
Anyone claiming to have any degree of numeracy above the level of basic addition will appreciate this methodology.
But I suspect Steve and Anthony know this: they’re not dumb.
But it is an intellectually dishonest argument.
Take a good look in the mirror sceptics: ask yourself just how badly you don’t want this fact be true.
To what depths does one has to go in order to deceive a) themselves and b) others.