Politics Disguised as Science: When to Doubt a Scientific ‘Consensus’

Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that scientists are not immune to the non-rational dynamics of the herd.

By Jay Richards Published on April 19, 2017

This week’s March for Science is odd. Marches are usually held to defend something that’s in peril. Does anyone really think big science is in danger? The mere fact that the March was scheduled for Earth Day betrays what the event is really about: politics. The organizers admitted as much early on, though they’re now busy trying to cover the event in sciencey camouflage.

If past is prologue, expect to hear a lot about the supposed “consensus” on catastrophic climate change this week. The purpose of this claim is to shut up skeptical non-scientists.

How should non-scientists respond when told about this consensus? We can’t all study climate science. But since politics often masquerades as science, we need a way to tell one from the other.

“Consensus,” according to Merriam-Webster, means both “general agreement” and “group solidarity in sentiment and belief.” That sums up the problem. Is this consensus based on solid evidence and sound logic, or social pressure and groupthink?

When can you doubt a consensus? Your best bet is to look at the process that produced, defends and transmits the supposed consensus.

Anyone who has studied the history of science knows that scientists are prone to herd instincts. Many false ideas once enjoyed consensus. Indeed, the “power of the paradigm” often blinds scientists to alternatives to their view. Question the paradigm, and some respond with anger.

We shouldn’t, of course, forget the other side of the coin. There are cranks and conspiracy theorists. No matter how well founded a scientific consensus, there’s someone who thinks it’s all hokum. Sometimes these folks turn out to be right. But often, they’re just cranks whose counsel is best ignored.

So how do we distinguish, as Andrew Coyne puts it, “between genuine authority and mere received wisdom? And how do we tell crankish imperviousness to evidence from legitimate skepticism?” Do we have to trust whatever we’re told is based on a scientific consensus unless we can study the science ourselves? When can you doubt a consensus? When should you doubt it?

Your best bet is to look at the process that produced, defends and transmits the supposed consensus. I don’t know of any complete list of signs of suspicion. But here’s a checklist to decide when you can, even should, doubt a scientific “consensus,” whatever the subject. One of these signs may be enough to give pause. If they start to pile up, then it’s wise to be leery.

(1) When different claims get bundled together

Usually, in scientific disputes, there’s more than one claim at issue. With global warming, there’s the claim that our planet, on average, is getting warmer. There’s also the claim that we are the main cause of it, that it’s going to be catastrophic, and that we must transform civilization to deal with it. These are all different claims based on different evidence.

Evidence for warming, for instance, isn’t evidence for the cause of that warming. All the polar bears could drown, the glaciers melt, the sea levels rise 20 feet and Newfoundland become a popular place to tan: That wouldn’t tell us a thing about what caused the warming. This is a matter of logic, not scientific evidence. The effect is not the same as the cause.

There’s a lot more agreement about (1) a modest warming trend since about 1850 than there is about (2) the cause of that trend. There’s even less agreement about (3) the dangers of that trend, or of (4) what to do about it. But these four claims are often bundled together. So, if you doubt one, you’re labeled a climate change “skeptic” or “denier.” That’s dishonest. When well-established claims are tied with other, more controversial claims, and the entire bundle is labeled “consensus,” you have reason for doubt.

(2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate

Personal attacks are common in any dispute. It’s easier to insult than to the follow the thread of an argument. And just because someone makes an ad hominem argument, it doesn’t mean that their conclusion is wrong. But when the personal attacks are the first out of the gate, don your skeptic’s cap and look more closely at the data.

When it comes to climate change, ad hominems are everywhere. They’re even smuggled into the way the debate is described. The common label “denier” is one example. This label is supposed to call to mind the charge of columnist Ellen Goodman: “I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.”

There’s an old legal proverb: If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have the law on your side, argue the law. If you have neither, attack the witness. When proponents of a scientific consensus lead with an attack on the witness, rather than on the arguments and evidence, be suspicious.

(3) When scientists are pressured to toe the party line

The famous Lysenko affair in the former Soviet Union is example of politics trumping good science. But it’s not the only way politics can override science. There’s also a conspiracy of agreement, in which assumptions and interests combine to give the appearance of objectivity where none exists. This is even more forceful than a literal conspiracy enforced by a dictator. Why? Because it looks like the agreement reflects a fair and independent weighing of the evidence.

Tenure, job promotions, government grants, media accolades, social respectability, Wikipedia entries, and vanity can do what gulags do, only more subtly. Alexis de Tocqueville warned of this almost two centuries ago. The power of the majority in American society, he wrote, could erect “formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.” He could have been writing about climate science.

Indeed, the quickest way for scientists to put their careers at risk is to raise even modest questions about climate doom (see here, here and here). Scientists are under pressure to toe the party line on climate change and receive many benefits for doing so. That’s another reason for suspicion.

(4) When publishing and peer review in the discipline is cliquish

Though it has its limits, the peer-review process is meant to provide checks and balances. At its best, it helps weed out bad and misleading work, and make scientific research more objective. But when the same few people review and approve each other’s work, you get conflicts of interest. This weakens the case for the supposed consensus. It becomes, instead, another reason for doubt. Those who follow the climate debate have known for years about the cliquish nature of publishing and peer review in climate science (see here for example).

(5) When dissenters are excluded from the peer-reviewed journals not because of weak evidence or bad arguments but to marginalize them.

Besides mere cliquishness, the “peer review” process in climate science has, in some cases, been subverted to prevent dissenters from being published. Again, those who follow the debate have known about these problems for years. But the Climategate debacle in 2009 revealed some of the gory details for the broader public. And again, this gives the lay public a reason to doubt the consensus.

(6) When the actual peer-reviewed literature is misrepresented

We’ve been told for years that the peer-reviewed literature is unanimous in its support for human-induced climate change. In Science, Naomi Oreskes even produced a “study” of the literature supposedly showing “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.”

In fact, there are plenty of dissenting papers in the literature. This is despite mounting evidence that the peer-review deck was stacked against them. The 2009 Climategate scandal underscored this: The climate scientists at the center of the controversy complained in their emails about dissenting papers that survived the peer-review booby traps they put in place. They even fantasized about torpedoing a climate science journal that dared to publish a dissenting article.

(7) When consensus is declared before it even exists

A well-rooted scientific consensus, like a mature oak, needs time to grow. Scientists have to do research, publish articles, read about other research, and repeat experiments (where possible). They need to reveal their data and methods, have open debates, evaluate arguments, look at the trends, and so forth, before they can come to agreement. When scientists rush to declare a consensus — when they claim a consensus that has yet to form — this should give everyone pause.

In 1992, former Vice President Al Gore reassured his listeners, “Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled.” In the real 1992, however, Gallup “reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren’t sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn’t think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.”

Seventeen years later, in 2009, Gore revised his own fake history. He claimed that the debate over human-induced climate change had raged until as late as 1999, but now there was true consensus. Of course, 2009 is when Climategate broke, reminding us that what had smelled funny was indeed rotten.

(8) When the subject matter seems, by its nature, to resist consensus

It makes sense that chemists over time may come to agree about the results of some chemical reaction, since they can repeat the results over and over in their own labs. They’re easy to test. But much of climate science is not like that. The evidence is scattered and hard to track. It’s often indirect, imbedded in history and laden with theory. You can’t rerun past climate to test it. And the headline-grabbing claims of climate scientists are based on complex computer models that don’t match reality. These models get their input, not from the data, but from the scientists who interpret the data. This isn’t the sort of evidence that can provide the basis for a well-founded consensus. In fact, if there really were a consensus on the many claims around climate science, that would be suspicious. Thus, the claim of consensus is a bit suspect as well.

(9) When “scientists say” or “science says” is a common locution

In Newsweek’s April 28, 1975, issue, science editor Peter Gwynne claimed that “scientists are almost unanimous” that global cooling was underway. Now we are told, “Scientists say global warming will lead to the extinction of plant and animal species, the flooding of coastal areas from rising seas, more extreme weather, more drought and diseases spreading more widely.” “Scientists say” is ambiguous. You should wonder: “Which ones?”

Other times this vague company of scientists becomes “SCIENCE.” As when we’re told “what science says is required to avoid catastrophic climate change.” “Science says” is a weasely claim. “Science,” after all, is an abstract noun. It can’t speak. Whenever you see these phrases used to imply a consensus, it should trigger your baloney detector.

(10) When it is being used to justify dramatic political or economic policies

Imagine hundreds of world leaders and NGOS, science groups, and UN functionaries gathered for a meeting. It’s heralded as the most important conference since World War II, in which “the future of the world is being decided.” These officials seem to agree that institutions of “global governance” need to be set up to reorder the world economy and restrict energy use. Large numbers of them applaud wildly when socialist dictators denounce capitalism. Strange activism surrounds the gathering. And we are told by our president that all of this is based, not on fiction, but on science — that is, a scientific consensus that our greenhouse gas emissions are leading to climate catastrophe.

We don’t have to imagine that scenario, of course. It happened at the UN climate meeting in Copenhagen, in December 2009. It happened again in Paris, in December 2015. Expect something at least as zany at the March for Science.

Now, none of this disproves climate doom. But it does describe a setting in which truth need not appear. And at the least, when policy effects are so profound, the evidence should be rock solid. “Extraordinary claims,” the late Carl Sagan often said, “require extraordinary evidence.” When the megaphones of consensus insist that there’s no time, that we have to move, MOVE, MOVE!, you have a right to be wary.

(11) When the “consensus” is maintained by an army of water-carrying journalists who defend it with partisan zeal, and seem intent on helping certain scientists with their messaging rather than reporting on the field as fairly as possible

Do I really need to elaborate on this point?

(12) When we keep being told that there’s a scientific consensus

A consensus should be based on solid evidence. But a consensus is not itself the evidence. And with well-established scientific theories, you never hear about consensus. No one talks about the consensus that the planets orbit the sun, that the hydrogen molecule is lighter than the oxygen molecule, that salt is sodium chloride, that bacteria sometimes cause illness, or that blood carries oxygen to our organs. The very fact that we hear so much about a consensus on climate change may be enough to justify suspicion.

To adapt that old legal rule, when you’ve got solid scientific evidence on your side, you argue the evidence. When you’ve got great arguments, you make the arguments. When you don’t have solid evidence or great arguments, you claim consensus.

Adapted from THE AMERICAN. This piece has been updated since its original publication.

 

Jay W. Richards is Executive Editor of The Stream. Follow him on Twitter.

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  • dh122

    Very good summation of reasons to suspect groupthink and ulterior motives in the global warming community.

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  • @Jay Richards: Thank you for this timely article. Love the picture!

  • Daniel Wright

    This is very informative. I will reference the details in my arguments with warming advocates. I have been a skeptic for years now but I have not had a good reference to clearly describe my beliefs. Thanks.

  • billdamon

    Among the hilarious things in this article are not linking to the investigation into “ClimateGate” and putting AEI as a legit resource in a link. These types of articles were running rampant when there was controversy about second hand smoke, lead in our water, and the ozone layer. It doesn’t mean that the Climate Science is right, but in these EXACT situation in the recent past, guys like Jay have been proven to be very, very wrong.

  • billdamon

    And of course… further research leads me to belivee that Jay works for a Ideological think tank with unknown funding. Hmm… and one, that is of course, pretty much anti-science across the board. SHOCKER!

    • (2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate

      • billdamon

        to quote the article “When you don’t have decisive evidence or great arguments”…. you use partisan sources with bad track records in research to back up your points, you exclude widely available data from your article that directly answers questions you don’t want answered, you imply sinister motives (“the climate debate blogosphere have known for years about the cliquish nature of publishing and peer review in climate science”) that are actually true of just about every scientific research specialty and their science works just fine, you make vague statements (“You can’t rerun past climate to test it, as you can with chemistry experiments”) that sound incriminating to the main point, but are true of every model and there are many ways to evaluate past work.

        Overall….. there’s legit reasons to question all scientific inquiry, and climate science in particular. But this is nothing but another misleading, ideological argument based on highly questionable sources and innuendo.

        Frederick Seitz would be proud. He’s following the playbook!

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  • Sally Richter

    For the life of me I don’t get why people who lean to the right are so resistant to experts’ opinions when it comes to climate change. I mean, I understand why a company like Exxon would promote skepticism; that’s just business, after all. But tobacco companies did the same thing when it came to the dangers of smoking, and AFAIK most people (including smokers) knew they were full of it. Maybe it is because the implications suck, big time: countering/mitigating the effects of climate change would indeed suck for the global economy, causing real pain.

    And by the way, the reason you never hear people talk about the “consensus that the planets orbit the sun” is that there is no *need* to, because we don’t have articles like this claiming that heliocentrism is just political groupthink.

    • GPS Daddy

      Ok, Sally, why don’t you lead by example and sacrifice yours, your kids, and your grand kids economic futures to correcting the illusion of catostrophic climate change. Unless, of course, your one of the elites that will prosper from it.

      • Timothy Horton

        Like most of the climate change deniers here you’re confusing two separate issues.

        1) That human produced climate change is real, is happening, and is causing tangible damage is a scientific fact.

        2) What to do about it, how and where to best allocate resources to combat the problem is a complicated scientific and political issue open to discussion.

        Climate change deniers (more precisely, the fossil fuel companies who stand to lose money) don’t like the decisions being made for 2) so they start a propaganda campaign claiming 1) is false. That muddies the waters for 2) but doesn’t change one iota the scientific reality of 1).

        • GPS Daddy

          Timothy, if you think that catestrophoc global warming is real and an imminate danger then you are morally obligated to commit your life to change it. You need to commit every available resource you can spare and give to the cause either financially or in time. You need to live as simple as you can. Anything less is hypocritical.

          Spending your time on social media insulting others will do nothing for global warming if it’s real.

          • Timothy Horton

            You’re exactly the kind of scientifically illiterate layman the fossil fuel companies are targeting with their propaganda.

          • GPS Daddy

            Wasting time on social media, are we? Timothy this is not something you can brush aside. If you think the world is getting ready to fall off a cliff, then you have no moral choice but to drop everything else to stop it.

            Think about how history will see us. It will describe me as a climate denier that thought he knew something but reallly did not. But history will recognize that I acted in accordance with my belief. On the other hand, history will see you as someone who “got it” but chose to waist time insulting people on social media instead of doing more useful things.

          • Timothy Horton

            No ignorance quit so strong as science denier willful ignorance.

          • GPS Daddy

            Wasting time. This is HUGE, Timothy. The earth is going to end. What are you going to do about it? Spend your time insulting people on social media? That’s all the creativity you have in helping to solve this problem that will adversely affect every life on this planet?

          • Timothy Horton

            Keep that spittle flying. Just don’t short out your keyboard.

          • Theresa

            The climate has been changing for billions of years. It gets colder. It gets warmer. That’s life on Planet Earth. Apparently you’re a newcomer, so Welcome!

            The true science deniers are the faithful members of the Church of Global Warming. It follows the template of almost all organized religions throughout history.

            Built on fearmongering, apocalyptic forecasts, sin, guilt, shame, penance, tithing (carbon taxes), blind faith and ridicule of non-believers. They even have their own version of the Great Flood (rising sea levels). It’s got it ALL.

            And its members are similar to those indoctrinated into cults like the Branch Davidians, the Westboro Baptist Church, Jim Jones and the Manson family, so rigid is their faith and devotion. It’s quite hilarious to watch the ‘faithful’ as they run around screaming ‘denier’ at everyone who doesn’t believe in their chosen ideology.

    • Gary

      It is often true that those “experts” have opinions about things, like evolution, that we know cannot be true. That is why we don’t trust their opinions about other things.

    • Nunyadambizness

      I’m not resistant to “experts’ opinions”, but let’s face it: Algore is no expert on anything. One other thing, in general: When someone comes to you and points out a problem you didn’t know existed, expounds upon the problem and what terrible issues the problem will cause, then says if you give them money they can make the problem go away, RUN. At that point you’re dealing with a snake-oil salesman or its new-age equivalent, NOT a Scientist. Algore wanted to make billions a la ENRON, which is why he started the carbon exchange in Chicago and “carbon credits”. FOLLOW THE MONEY and you will, more often than not, find out the true reason for the hype–for anything.

      As a former Chemistry major, I was taught the Scientific Method–that included creating a theory, testing it, and then publishing those results so others could test your theory. CONSENSUS was not a part of that method, and has zero place with SCIENCE.

      • m-nj

        And there’s the rub… there is no actual “testing” of the theory of AGW… except for some of the possible climate drivers tested in very simple systems, the “testing” is all modeling… and models are only as good as the programming and understanding of the system, and the data that is used … and we all know how the climate “baseline” has been changed or otherwise manipulated to try to show MORE warming in some interval, or to try to explain the hiatus in warming in the last few decades. There is SO MUCH we do not understand about how this planet works… scientists exhibit great hubris in saying they KNOW how it works.

        • Timothy Horton

          LOL! “I can’t really be fat, the scale hasn’t been tested and all those doctors are wrong!”

          All science deniers know how to do is deny reality.

          • m-nj

            Your analogy holds no water. I can step on a scale (or be forced onto one) to measure my weight (“fat” is a value judgement and is not even measured with a scale). In contrast, AGW cannot be definitively demonstrated nor reproduced in a system matching the actual complexity of the earth.

            Just because you keep saying something is true doesn’t make it true, no matter how “sincere” you are in your belief.

            The manipulation of data, and the behind the scenes collusion of some, to hide findings contrary to AGW, continue to come to light… even in light of #11 above (the complicity of the press).

          • Timothy Horton

            Just because you keep covering your ears and going LA LA LA I DON’T HEAR ANY AGW EVIDENCE!! doesn’t make the evidence go away.

          • Autrey Windle

            LOL! My scientist; er,Dr. made an executive decision about my getting on the scale today but said nothing about my fat measurement. That’s why I picked a lady doctor!

          • GPS Daddy

            M-ny is right, Timothy. The “evidence” that we are headed to catestrophic warming all comes from computer models. The models, however, do not predict the leveling off of temperatures.

          • Timothy Horton

            Temperatures haven’t leveled off. The rise of the last two years is as steep as any two year period seen.

          • GPS Daddy

            A two year period is nothing on climate science. You should know that.

          • Timothy Horton

            Then look at the long term trends for the last 30, or 50, or 100. There’s still an obvious positive rise in each, no leveling off except for the usual short term fluctuations present in any data set.

          • GPS Daddy

            Those short-term trends do not show abnormal rise in temperatures essoecially when compared long term trends over 10’s of thousands of years.

          • Timothy Horton

            See, that’s exactly the kind of stupid thing I’m talking about. The major human caused temperature rise didn’t begin until the mid 1800’s and has been accelerating since then. Science deniers love to point to temperature trends 10’s of thousands of years ago as if they are somehow relevant to this relatively recent human caused rise.

          • GPS Daddy

            Timothy, do you take Christian’s seriously that verbally abuse you? I read what you responded to anne55 with a while back on how your where offended at what some “Christians” had said to you. It’s very clear that your posts are coming from a place a deep offense. No one convinces anyone of anything with the abuse and insults you put into your posts. So let’s be more real, ok? Your offended. That is the primary driving we behind your posts not to educate others.

          • GPS Daddy

            It takes computer models that are very suspect to find the evidence for the minor warming that has happened will escalate into a major problem.

          • GPS Daddy

            However, Timothy, responding to me with insults will not move me in any way to take you seriously. So while the world is baking your waisting your time insulting people on social media. This leads me to believe that you don’t give a rip about global warming but really just want to insult people.

          • Ryan

            He is just a science illiterate troll.

          • GPS Daddy

            I’d rather view someone as Jesus does.

          • Timothy Horton

            My goal is not to make you take me seriously. My goal is to point out to the lurkers how little you and your denier buddies actually know on the science of climate change. You’re going most of the hard work with the dumb claims you make.

    • Timothy Horton

      The climate change deniers here remind me of an obese middle aged man.

      The obese middle aged man goes to a doctor who tells him “you’re morbidly obese. You need to start dieting and exercise or you’ll have serious health issues in just a few years”.

      The fat man doesn’t believe him so goes to another doctor. That doctor tells him the same thing “You need to start dieting and exercise or you’ll have serious health issues in just a few years”.

      The fat man ignores the second doctor and goes to a third who tells him the same thing “You need to start dieting and exercise or you’ll have serious health issues in just a few years”.

      He ignores the advice from the third doctor, and the fourth, and fifth, and six, all the way up to the twentieth. They all tell him the same thing, diet and exercise or you’re in big trouble.

      With a serious case of denial the fat man then goes to his local fast food store where the manager tells him “You have no problem, all those doctors are quacks who only want to take your money. Here, let me sell you this triple cheeseburger and extra large fries”. That’s what the fat man wants to hear so he knows it must be true.

      • m flight

        Nice bigoted, sexist, ageist, fat phobic comment. Nobody with any intelligence denies the climate constantly changes. By calling people that disagree with your opinion on the danger of more CO2 or warmer weather “deniers”, you just confirm what Jay Richards wrote in the article.

        In your scientific opinion please explain the middle evil warming period, the recent 15 year pause and the correlation to CO2. Explain why warmer weather is a bad thing. Explain why more CO2 and more plants are a bad thing.

        • Timothy Horton

          LOL! @ “middle evil warming period”.

          Average global temperature which rises too quickly changes environments faster than most species can adapt. They go extinct which reduces biodiversity.

          Average global temperature which rises too quickly causes a non-negligible rise in sea level leading to higher storm surges and billions of dollars in damage to waterfront infrastructure.

          Average global temperature which rises too quickly causes a large increase in atmospheric water content leading to extra heavy snow / rains and catastrophic flooding in some areas.

          Average global temperature which rises too quickly causes wind patterns to change and leads to major drought and crop failures in some areas.

          Additional growing of temperate plants in far northern latitudes due to excess warming doesn’t compensate for the loss of crops in formerly temperate areas because there is no food storage / food distribution infrastructure in the new warm growing zones.

          Those are just a few off the top of my head. There are many more which anyone honestly interested can easily find.

          • Kevin Morgan

            Wouldn’t the processes of evolution make up for the biodiversity in time? Or have they stopped?

          • Timothy Horton

            Sure, but the average time to fully repopulate the empty niches from a mass extinction event is 5 to 10 million years. That doesn’t do we humans any good in the next 50 years.

          • Kevin Morgan

            I don’t share your faith. We won’t see them again. Nature will only fill in with existing genuses.

          • david russell

            Name a single species that has died from AGW. While climate change can drive species extinct, today species are threatened by hunting, habitat destruction, invasive species. Most species are insects, I suspect the cockroaches will be around long after humans are all gone.

          • Danceswithdachshunds

            The MOST influential factor to the survival of any species is not climate – it is the availability of food.

            There is now unquestionable proof that warmer temperature and more CO2 are producing more food (plant life) all over the planet resulting in an explosion of animal life beginning at the microbial level and presently working its way up to benefit higher species such as insects which will benefit bats and birds.

          • david russell

            Perhaps. But IMO humans as a species will never be under that threat. We populate too many places. If all of them were to become agriculturally non-productive we could live off of hydroponics, or grow food indoors (or underground). In years to come we may actually colonize other planets which would make it even harder to kill us all off (but at some point the sun blow up, so to survive will have to go outside our solar system — but we’ve got 5B years to do that).

          • Timothy Horton

            Oh we won’t go extinct, there’s just too darn many of us. But we most likely will lose a few hundred million to starvation from drought caused crop failures and rising sea levels inundating farm land with salt water. But what do you care as long as it’s happening to someone else, right?

          • david russell

            Historically, mass starvation is an artifact of bad government. Thanks to modern civilization, technology and more AGW crop production is at all time highs and we actually produce 2x the amount of calories needed to support every human being. A greener more productive planet is in part due to AGW.

            Oh, and you are an idiot.

          • Timothy Horton

            Historically, mass starvation is an artifact of bad government.

            Yep. If our government allows global warming to continue unchecked, when it negatively affecting crop yields it will be the government’s fault.

            we actually produce 2x the amount of calories needed to support every human being.

            We just have no way to transport it in a timely manner to those who need it.

          • david russell

            Don’t pretend to be an idiot. People might get the wrong idea and think you really are an idiot. By bad government I don’t mean the US. The US produces more food than it needs. And of course transportation is not a problem. We can ship just about anything just about anywhere on the planet.

          • Timothy Horton

            Are you honestly going to claim there is no famine going on anywhere on the planet right now? If so you’re even dumber than you appear.

          • david russell

            “Are you honestly going to claim there is no famine going on anywhere on the planet right now?”

            Did I say that? I don’t remember saying that. Hey, I didn’t actually say that. You are the idiot as I suspected initially. You weren’t “just pretending.”

          • Timothy Horton

            I pointed out a changing climate will produce additional famine and you responded by saying we shouldn’t worry, have gobs of excess food we can ship anywhere around the world. Then I point out we have famines in areas TODAY and there’s no food being shipped to the people who need it. You hem and haw and look at your shoes. You seem to be the only idiot in this conversation.

          • david russell

            English must be a second language for you. I advise you re-read our correspondence and I’ll then accept your apology for distorting what I said, to wit: a) famine is typically an artifact of bad government; b) the world produces 2X the amount of food needed to sustain every human; and c) food can easily be transported anywhere on the planet.

            I did no say there are no famines (today). I did not say there would be no famines in the future. I did say that I didn’t say these things in my last post to you and you continue to misread/ignore what I say.

            Learn to read. Don’t put words into my mouth.

            You might want to consult Wikipedia on world famines. The list a handful in this century all located in god-awful places with bad government or no government (civil war)….. just like I said.

          • Timothy Horton

            You seem to be tap dancing as fast as you can. What does having us produce more food than we need now have to do with future famines when we can’t get the food to all our people today?

          • david russell

            With respect, take a deep breath. Famines are not causes back lack of global food supplies. The fact is that today’s actual production would be capable of supported 2X the current population and we haven’t begun to approach future supply potential. Indeed, one reason for today’s agricultural capacity is AGW — both the extra CO2 and the extra warmth. The earth is literally greener today that it was 200 years ago or 100 years ago.

            Nor is the problem that “we can’t get food to our people today. We can. Somebody has to pay for it of course, and it may be too dangerous in war-torn areas to do much more than air drop food in, but it can be done.

            I repeat: Modern famines are essentially and artifact of bad government — not lack of food or lack of transportation.

        • GPS Daddy

          Don’t stup to Timothy’s level in name calling. Be better than that.

      • david russell

        The more you post, the less credible you seem. You must be a climate science expert.

    • Wayne Cook

      Woah! Experts? Did you know that 30000 of them don’t agree with GW? Did you know that the chief scientist for the O Admin resigned last year in protest of the cliques? Did you know that the UN’s own climate change committie spokesperson admitted that the whole program thrust was “wealth redistribution”? Did you know that several French scientists resigned over pressure from what they called, “NWO leaned on us”? Did you know that Obama invested more than a million of his own money in the very bank which is handling the fund transfers…just before writing his executive order about it??? Even Russia said last year they were leaving the committee because of the blatant fraud of the UN group.

      Sorry…whose “experts”?

      Did you realize that Chinese smokers have more potent tobacco and FAR fewer instances of cancer, in spite of skies with double the level of pollution?

      Sorry, not buying your lecture, Sally. Your conclusions aren’t scientific nor empirical.

    • Theresa

      For much of mans time on this planet, he has been mostly nomadic. Humans adapted to the changing climate by migrating to a different region. If a coastal area flooded due to rising water levels, they moved inland. If there was a drought, they moved to a better area to grow their crops. When winter came, they moved south. It’s only in the past several hundred years that man has set down permanent roots.

      Suddenly, instead of man adapting to the climate, he expects the climate to adapt to him and then is upset when it doesn’t.

      And what we hear him saying is, “NEVER BEFORE in RECORDED history”, which really means, “I should have packed up my stuff and moved to a more hospitable location, but I’m not budging and the earth had better damned well adapt to ME.”

    • david russell

      I believed in “authority” until Watergate. And of course on matters we view of no particular import, we rely on experts because we don’t have a choice or the inclination to challenge them. On matters of import, and on matters we personally take an interest in, the opposite is true. The internet is largely responsible for this. It takes little effort and time to check things out. This is especially true for highly specific matters. So it’s easy for a lay person with say a specific disease to find out a lot about this condition and be able to keep up with say a GP doctor who may know only what he learned in school 30 years ago for this particular condition.

      Regarding climate science, didn’t you read the article? Geez.

  • MikeW

    This is a good article on the limitations of scientific “consensus”. A good book that also demonstrates this in other areas of science is How to Clone a Mammoth by Beth Shapiro. In the book, Shapiro explains why it is actually impossible to clone a mammoth, and exposes how some scientists and the science media hype cloning because it is popular with the public, and is a proven way to acquire funding. Shapiro also exposes another science misrepresentation, i.e. the Human Genome Project, which claims to have sequenced the entire human genome, but in fact has been able to sequence only about 80% of it. (The heterochromatin portion remains un-sequenced.) The actual truths of science can be very different from the media misrepresentations of them.

  • Gary

    Since we know that “scientists”, so called, who insist that nature is all there is, and that evolution is true, are wrong about those things, we should be very suspicious of any other claims they make.

  • Gary

    For those who believe that nature is all there is, a changing climate should be viewed as a natural occurrence.

  • m-nj

    Excellent summary. As a professional scientist for over 25 years now, i can attest to bias and prejudice in the peer-review process, even in non-controversial areas.

    • Trooper

      I agree. I’ve been in the medical business for over 30 years and my job is to direct investments based on research findings. Scientific “consensus” routinely quashes dissenters. Also, I’ve done enough of my own investigation into this topic to conclude that the AGW prognosticators have overstated their case and squandered their authority. Frankly, I don’t see this topic ever being resolved scientifically (repeatable demonstration of cause and effect) since the earth’s climate is too complex to reduce to a testable system, and any change in climate can always be plausibly ascribed to natural variance. Nonetheless, what the AGW proponents prescribe is frightening considering the impact to the global poor. Why not stop pushing economic solutions and continue to focus on conservation, alternative energy development, and other methods of adopting to climate change regardless of its cause? And when I see local authorities routinely and consistently block rebuilding shoreline homes after a hurricane then I will start to believe our leadership is taking this topic seriously.

  • Autrey Windle

    Imagine science studies where the scientist actually had to find the funding for themselves and the government was not allowed to fund any research? If a car company goes belly-up they have to dig themselves out like Ford did, right?Oops! The consensus of financial gurus was that it was the governments job to get in to the business of business and help all the companies that were so wrong that they failed in the first place… What if the government funded the military and the court and the lawmakers salaries and everybody else had to deal with the private sector? How big would our debt be then? What if science itself had to prove itself without taxpayer funding or government endorsement? Imagine if the media was only allowed to print actual facts and truth? Oh, well! There I go having dreams of the world after the second coming again…

    • Wayne Cook

      LOL, shame on you, my friend!

    • david russell

      I fear science today requires too much money to be privately funded (I mean “individually” funded).

      • Autrey Windle

        If they couldn’t get money from the government cash-cow, you may be surprised at how much fat they could and would trim from their own efforts. This fake threat of not having enough money to do the job if the taxpayer stops funding is exactly how the powerful intimidate the very resourceful masses into giving the rich and powerful all their money and submission. Be careful, America, about not letting the budgets be cut and whole agencies be closed. You may wind up paying even more for what you will never get from your government.

  • Timothy Horton

    Most of the climate change deniers I’ve seen confuse two separate issues.

    1) That human produced climate change is real, is happening, and is causing tangible damage is a scientific fact.

    2) What to do about it, how and where to best allocate resources to combat the problem is a complicated scientific and political issue open to discussion.

    Climate change deniers (more precisely, the fossil fuel companies who stand to lose money) don’t like the decisions being made for 2) so they start a propaganda campaign claiming 1) is false. That muddies the waters for 2) but doesn’t change one iota the scientific reality of 1).

    This OP is a classic example of the effects of the fossil fuel company propaganda. Muddy the waters, create doubt among the non-scientists for their own political and financial reasons. Tobacco companies did the exact same thing when science identified the dangers of smoking.

    • Gary

      According to your beliefs, humans are a part of nature. If humans are causing climate change it is as natural as anything else that happens, and you have no reason to object to it.

      • Timothy Horton

        That’s about as stupid an argument against anthropogenic climate change as I’ve ever heard. It’s stupid even by your low standards.

        • Gary

          It fits perfectly with your beliefs that everything is a part of nature. Since humans are a part of nature, everything they do is natural.

          • Timothy Horton

            Natural doesn’t mean good. Flying airplanes into buildings is in the natural world too.

          • Gary

            For materialists, there can be no good or bad, just what is. There is no basis for morality in nature.

          • Timothy Horton

            Of course. Morality is a subjective human construct.

          • Gary

            If you believe nature is all there is, that has to be your point of view. And since there is no good or bad, right or wrong in nature alone, you have no reason to object to climate change. Your objection is nothing more than your opinion.

          • Timothy Horton

            Repeating the same stupid argument doesn’t make it any less stupid.

          • Gary

            Perhaps you are so intellectually lazy that you have not examined the logical conclusions of your own beliefs. Or, maybe you are not smart enough to figure it out.

          • Timothy Horton

            It takes a special kind of stupid to think just because something a human causes is part of nature that the act can’t be harmful to others or shouldn’t be prevented.

            Gary is just the special guy to do it!

          • Gary

            “Shouldn’t” is a moral term. What you consider moral, or immoral, is just your opinion. Just a chemical reaction in your brain. Nobody else has to agree with you.

          • Kevin Morgan

            I think he is saying that some humans don’t like the natural results of their own actions. Other humans don’t care. Natural or not, as a subset of nature–the subset that has the ability to think about the consequences of their actions–humans have some responsibility in what happens on earth. Whether that means we are the deciding factor in global warming is yet undetermined.

            Oh, yeah, bearing responsibility puts humans in a class ABOVE the rest of nature. My apologies to those who think that humans aren’t that special from the rest of nature. Either humans ARE special AND responsible OR humans aren’t special–you cannot have it both ways.

          • davidrev17

            Timothy, here’s a “word” of UN-wisdom from your ideologically militant heroes, and twin-pillars of UN-truth…aka the double D’s – Darwin & Dawkins.

            And the relentless logic undergirding such a naturalistic worldview clearly described below – of which no doubt magnifies the tail-chasing illogical “one” you consistently espouse here on this Christian-based, thus MORALLY-PREMISED blog – should effectively stimulate your thinking (or at least put-a-sock-in-your-mouth?); especially as this relates to your dizzying demonstrations of self-refuting (or incoherent) “pretzel logic,” when typically pressing MORALLY-centered allegations and/or arguments, from a strictly NON-moral frame-of-reference???

            (BTW: Christian philosopher & apologist, Dr. Frank Turek, has written a very insightful book in this regard, called “Stealing From God.” It just might hep ya’ see things a bit more clearly?)

            ☆ ☆ ☆

            “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but [blind] pitiless indifference.” (My emphasis)

            — Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

          • Timothy Horton

            He’s just going by the fact in the entire history of science there’s never been a scientific demonstration or evidence provided for the existence of any supernatural Gods, ghosts, pixies, sprites, fairies, or hobgoblins. Lots of anecdotal evidence from True Believes but zero scientific confirmation.

          • Gary

            Justice is a moral concept. If morality is objective, and the same rules apply to everyone then the rules must be made by God. Humans lack the authority to define morality. To you atheists, morality is subjective and therefore only applies to the individual who wants to recognize it and apply it to themselves. Your “morality” can never legitimately apply to anyone else. And it doesn’t apply to you, unless you want it to.

          • davidrev17

            Amen brother! I just posted another reply to Timothy on the same subject…only this time, in his own language…that he still can’t seem to comprehend!

        • david russell

          I agree with your sentiment (it’s not a good argument), but you have a way of presenting that makes even your correct ideas unpalatable. Of course maybe you aren’t really trying to persuade. I don’t know.

      • Rob Klaers

        That would be correct to a point. If we were still huddling around fires, cooking the kill we just made with our spears, you’d have a point.
        But things have changed quite a bit since that time. Besides being an industrialization nation, current population has increased art least 1,000-fold form what it was then. Then add in the exhaust from cars, trucks and other commerical vehicles– all of which are unnatural So no… not as natural as anything else.

        • Gary

          No. If nature is all there is, then everything people do is natural. Everything they do.

        • Danceswithdachshunds

          “exhaust from cars, trucks and other commerical vehicles– all of which are unnatural”

          Many coal seams have been burning for hundreds of years, there’s one that’s been burning for 6000 years in Australia!

          If nature burns coal then why is it unnatural for humans to burn coal? Humans are NOT the only species that uses tools – we’re just really good at it. How does our doing something better make our activity “unnatural”?

          Unless you can show that extra terrestrials seeded the planet with humans in order to destroy it, it is hard to escape the fact that nature produced us so anything we do is ultimately a product of nature.

          • Timothy Horton

            If nature burns coal then why is it unnatural for humans to burn coal?

            It’s the amount we’re burning, making the atmospheric CO2 content skyrocket and the temperature rapidly rise that’s the problem.

    • Rick Zimmerman

      I can say the same thing about those who stand to gain, like green energy companies….did you even read the article???

      We need evidence….not name calling and straw man arguments.

    • Theresa

      As with other faithful members of various religions, you are entitled to your beliefs. But just as I won’t be swayed by Hari Krishnas on the street, or JWs who come to my door, I won’t be swayed by your myth-based climate ideology either.
      By all means, tithe to your hearts content to your chosen religious leaders and their promises of paradise and salvation. If you just hand over your money to them, they will atone mankind of his egregious sins and all will be right with the world. You go ahead and do that, but leave the rest of the world, who aren’t interested in your climate alarmist beliefs, alone.

    • Theresa

      As with other zealots of various religions, you are entitled to your faith. But just as I won’t be swayed by Hari Krishnas on the street, or JWs who come to my door, I won’t be swayed by your myth-based climate ideology either.

      By all means, tithe to your hearts content to your chosen religious leaders and their promises of paradise and salvation. If you just hand over your money to them, they will atone mankind of his egregious sins and Nirvana will prevail. You go ahead and do that, but leave the rest of the world, who aren’t interested in your climate alarmist beliefs, alone.

      • JWJ

        Correct. Folks who uses the term “climate denier” are most likely religious zealots. They are trying to use force to convert (or at least give money) to their religion.

    • Hayekian

      If the oil companies are learning from the tobacco companies, they presumably realize that it is counterproductive to deny provable harms as it opens you up to expensive legal action, especially when you sell a product that effectively has a captive market of consumers who now know the risks and so can’t sue you.
      Also the oil companies are essentially intermediaries, the ones with the most to lose are the middle eastern states who own the land the oil is on but I notice that you are not suggesting a giant muslim conspiracy but instead a giant oil company one. Any evidence at all for this conspiracy hypothesis?

      • david russell

        None. Indeed outside the US oilcos are mainly operators, not owners. The minerals actually are state owned everywhere but the US (and even here a lot of minerals on state and federal land are govt owned).

    • John Wilder

      Mr Hutton:
      I have a degree in science and have worked in a scientific field. The SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED! The only way for the science to be settled is by using the GOLD STANDARD IN LEGITIMATE SCIENCE, THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Now in case you don’t know what that is, it states that first you devise a theory and then you formulate a scientific experiment that proves that theory beyond any doubt and any scientist anywhere in the world can do the experiment and get the same result. To date THERE ARE NO SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS PROVING CO2 caused global warming. The Scientific Method was invented to eliminate consensus views.

      It is SCIENTIFICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR CO2 to be a “greenhouse gas” because it is 152% heavier than air and does not rise into the atmosphere. This is why they use it in fire extinguishers, precisely because it sinks to the ground and smothers the fire from getting O2 necessary for combustion. It is also why Hollywood producers use it to produce spooky ground fog in scary movies.

      By the way, the 1 degree rise has not done any tangible damage. All of these claims when fact checked are bogus. For example the Associated Press put out a story world wide about 10 years ago claiming that we will have massive saltwater fish kills from all the freshwater infusion into the saltwater environment from melting iceburgs. Now the third largest drainage basin in the entire world is the Mississippi River. Its flow rate into the Gulf of Mexico is 4 MILLION GALLONS PER SECOND. There will never be that kind of flow rate from melting iceburgs. In spite of that, there are no saltwater fish kills in the Gulf of Mexico. You are entitled to your opinion, but you cant just state something is a fact without absolute proof and sir you have none. Nor do the doomsdayers.

      • Timothy Horton

        That science-free, fact-free rant just lowered the IQ of everyone reading it by at least 20 points.

        It is SCIENTIFICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR CO2 to be a “greenhouse gas”

        Congratulations. That’s the stupidest claim I’ve seen a climate change denier make all month. You just disqualified yourself from any further discussion on the topic.

        • John Wilder

          Typical Libtard, instead of debating the facts you resort to ad hominem attacks. CO2 is definitely a heavier than air gas and that is not even debatable if you would simple google the specific gravity of CO2. You sir are what we call a pseudo intellectual. You have no facts only insulting attacks.

          And the Greenland Ice sheet is not melting away as Al (I invented the internet) Gore stated in his schlocumentary An Inconvenient Truth. For proof he showed a huge block of ice breaking off and falling into the ocean with a huge splash. Now according to the Ministry of the Interior in Iceland, that is called “calving iceburgs” and they calve 10,000 to 15,000 per year. Now that video footage was not taken by Gore and his cronies but was a purchased piece of stock film footage,

          But the proof that the Greenland Ice Sheet is not melting away can be seen by Googling the phrase Glacier Girl. It was televised internationally on National Geographic, hardly a right wing organization. It was about a group of veterans who went to Greenland to recover one of the P-38 Lightening fighters from the “lost squadron”. They had gotten lost and ran out of gas and were forced to land on the icesheet. They recovered the pilots but left the planes in place. About 10 years ago they actually recovered one of the planes and restored it to flying condition and it is on the Air Show circuit today. Here is the proof. THEY HAD TO BURROW DOWN 270 FEET TO RECLAIM THE PLANE. So not only has the ice sheet not melted away but it has increased 270 feet in height since 1944. Take that Libtard. I know you will be screaming and insults and denying but you sir are the true deniar.

          • Timothy Horton

            Typical Libtard, instead of debating the facts you resort to ad hominem attacks. CO2 is definitely a heavier than air gas and that is not even debatable if you would simple google the specific gravity of CO2. You sir are what we call a pseudo intellectual.

            You sir are what we call an idiot. The atmosphere is made of multiple gasses – nitrogen, oxygen, argon, methane, nitrous oxides, as well as CO2. All of them have different weights but according to your stupidity they should all settle into distinct bands with the heaviest at the bottom. Is that what we actually see?

            Thanks for doubling down on one of the stupidest statements I’ve ever seen a climate change denier make. That made my morning.

          • John Wilder

            The CO2 settles to the bottom and is sucked up faster by trees than we can put it out and returns O2 in standard photosynthesis. This is why in spite of literally putting hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of CO2 in the air, we only have 38/100,000ths of 1%. That by the way is the fractional equivalent of 380 PPM. If you had any scientific expertise, you know your insulting tones and ad hominem attacks have no place in legitimate science.

            Heavy snowfall on one corner of the Greenland Ice sheet really. 280 feet of snowfall in one corner. Oh please, why don’t you do a fact check on that with the Ministry of the Interior of Greenland. Are you going to say that about all snowfall all over the world when the facts disprove your claims?

          • Timothy Horton

            Anyone else want to defend the idiotic claim that all the CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere must sink to the very bottom next to ground level? Or the even dumber one (although it’s close) the snowfall in one corner of Greenland is representative of the average snowfall everywhere else above the Arctic Circle?

            Anyone?

          • Timothy Horton

            Heavy snowfall on one corner of the Greenland Ice sheet really. 280 feet of snowfall in one corner. Oh please, why don’t you do a fact check on that with the Ministry of the Interior of Greenland.

            Just in case anyone thinks this moron has an ounce of credibility here is a very recent (Feb 2017) article from Science detailing the tremendous ice and snow melt Greenland has been experiencing in the last decade.

            The Great Greenland Meltdown

            www(DOT)sciencemag(DOT)org/news/2017/02/great-greenland-meltdown

            “In Greenland, the great melt is on. The decline of Greenland’s ice sheet
            is a familiar story, but until recently, massive calving glaciers that
            carry ice from the interior and crumble into the sea got most of the
            attention. Between 2000 and 2008, such “dynamic” changes accounted for
            about as much mass loss as surface melting and shifts in snowfall. But
            the balance tipped dramatically between 2011 and 2014, when satellite
            data and modeling suggested that 70% of the annual 269 billion tons of
            snow and ice shed by Greenland was lost through surface melt, not
            calving. The accelerating surface melt has doubled Greenland’s
            contribution to global sea level rise since 1992–2011, to 0.74 mm per
            year. “Nobody expected the ice sheet to lose so much mass so quickly,”
            says geophysicist Isabella Velicogna of the University of California,
            Irvine. “Things are happening a lot faster than we expected.”

          • Timothy Horton

            But the proof that the Greenland Ice Sheet is not melting away can be seen by Googling the phrase Glacier Girl.

            LOL! So heavy annual snowfall on one particular corner of Greenland somehow means the all the rest of the snow and ice caps on the whole planet aren’t decreasing anywhere.

            You’re just a regular fountain of remarkable stupidity. Do keep it up! 🙂

    • Thomas Smith

      The money game runs both ways. What about all the green companies taking in billions by the subsidies given from governments. How about the “Al Gores” who rake in billions by creating new markets where nations and companies barter to “polute”. If we really look at the money game the “Climate Changers” have great lead – just look at all the web sites they operate.

    • Dale

      Interesting how you started out with name-calling as your introduction. We need to read no further to see that if you have no confidence in your statements, then neither should we.

      • Timothy Horton

        Seems you’ve already made up your mind based on what you want to be true instead of reading the scientific literature and following the data. That happens all the time with religious Fundies who just know the Earth is only 6000 years old and that God gave it to you to rape and plunder as you see fit. Why bother learning the science when Bible-based denial is so easy?

        • Dale

          You’ve proven my point. No more needs to be said.

          • Timothy Horton

            With your silly easily disprovable nonsense claims you’ve proven mine too. Have a happy science day!

        • david russell

          There’s no science to the predictions of disaster. It’s all speculation. Moreover the speculation is not believable. Crop production is at record levels. Hurricane and tornado trends are in declining. There’s no increase in world-wide total acreage under drought. And of course you have the Pause, a real embarrassment as it occurs during the last 2 decades when humans emitted half again as much Co2 into the air as in the entire history of mankind before.

    • david russell

      All the damage from AGW is…… in the future. To date, AGW has been a benefit to humanity. The earth is literally greener with all the extra CO2 and warmth.

  • m-nj

    i’ll keep posting to get the word out…

    on a related note… here is YOUR chance to give feedback to the EPA on their excessive regulations… they are soliciting public comment on how they can respond to the President’s Executive Order calling for re-evaluation and rollback of regulatory overreach that is NOT based on good science but done solely for gaining control over every aspect of your life and our economy

    EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190
    www . regulations . gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190

    based on what i read so far, the liberals are commenting in force, so i encourage you to share this far and wide to make sure their voice (e.g.,all regulations are good, more regulations are even better) is not the only voice EPA hears. also, it looks likes an overwhelming number of the anonymous posts are cut/paste or paraphrases of the same comments over and over and over…

  • Rob Klaers

    Nice edited article from 10 years ago.

    • david russell

      Well, a better question is “does the .85C or so (plus or minus some unspecified error range) Constitute a climate change? Moreover, if it does then hasn’t it changed for the better?

  • Theresa

    For much of mans time on this planet, he has been mostly nomadic. Humans adapted to the changing climate by migrating to a different region. If a coastal area flooded due to rising water levels, they moved inland. If there was a drought, they moved to a better area to grow their crops. When winter came, they moved south. It’s only in the past several hundred years that man has set down permanent roots.

    Suddenly, instead of man adapting to the climate, he expects the climate to adapt to him and then is upset when it doesn’t.

    And what we hear him saying is, “NEVER BEFORE in RECORDED history”, which really means, “NEVER BEFORE has the climate inconvenienced me so much that I must stop it from doing what it does naturally”.

    Or, “Hottest in recorded history”, which means, “I should have packed up my stuff and moved to a more hospitable location, but I’m not budging and the earth had better damned well adapt to ME.”

    10,000 years ago most of North America was covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. In some areas, it was 2 miles high. Where Toronto now stands, the ice was a mile thick. Most of the continent would be uninhabitable today if that massive glacier had not disappeared.

    By the way, when it did melt and recede, it carved out the Great Lakes, which prior to that time, did not exist. If the Climate Hysterics had been around then, they would have been horrified at the great chasms that were being created by the melting ice sheet and would have been demanding carbon taxes to stop it from happening.

    • relO627

      So does did the industrial revolution play a role in climate change?

    • Max Hebert

      It was more like 20,000 years ago for the tail end of it but points still valid to think about….

  • Donald Mann

    Oh Oh! You have enraged the “Warmies!”

  • john

    The consensus that has occurred is among mainstream scientific organizations. That consensus is not only that global warming is a reality (which even the author admits, though he tries to characterize it as “modest” notwithstanding melting icebergs on top of us.) but also that humans are the driving force behind it. There will always be individuals who dissent, in one form or another, from the consensus. What the author fails to speculate upon is what the motivation would be for all of these organizations to make a false claim. What would be the incentive for “making up” the effect human-generated pollution is having on the ozone layer and resulting in higher temperatures? Until I hear a valid reason to question the motivation of the most recognized of scientific organizations to lie about the human impact on climate change, I see no reason to disbelieve the consensus.

    • relO627

      Who are the non mainstream scientific organizations?

    • Dale

      John asks, “What would be the incentive for “making up” the effect human-generated
      pollution is having on the ozone layer and resulting in higher
      temperatures?”
      In short, money and lots of it.
      With the money comes control which the socialists want more than life itself.
      Perhaps, rather than listening to the “claims” of the government-funded scientific organizations to which you refer, I suggest you actually listed to the scientists themselves, especially those independent of government funding.
      If all else fails, look at the data.
      Surly the nearly 95% failure in the climate predictions should tell you something (?).

      • Timothy Horton

        Surly the nearly 95% failure in the climate predictions should tell you something (?).

        Climate model projections, not predictions, don’t have a 95% failure rate. If fact it’s just the opposite. The major climate model projections used by NOAA, Hadley, NCDC, etc. map the actual temperature rise within their uncertainty ranges better than 95% of the time.

        The professional liars who run climate change denier websites love to do a bait-and-switch between projections with uncertainties (which climate models provide) with precise value predictions (which climate models don’t provide.)

        • Dale

          Actually Tim, the projections vs. predictions claim is more a matter of semantics which became the IPCC’s modus operandi when their previous predictions/projections failed so miserably. The term “projection” became the weasel word used by the CAGW crowd in an attempt to explain their history of failure.
          Contrary to your statements, the predictions/projections by the models of lower atmospheric temperatures are not even close to the temperatures recorded by UHH and RSS, with the models almost consistently reading higher.
          Incidentally, your name-calling does nothing to strengthen your point but rather weakens your whole position when you feel so threatened so as to have to respond with such nonsense.

          • Timothy Horton

            Actually Tim, the projections vs. predictions claim is more a matter of semantics which became the IPCC’s modus operandi when their previous predictions/projections failed so miserably.

            LOL! What a lame hand-waving excuse for the lies told by the climate change denier crowd. The dishonesty is obvious when so many of the climate denier charts show only the narrow mean value of the thousands of climate model runs and omit the uncertainty ranges. then the liars claim since the actual temperature doesn’t fall exactly on the mean therefore the model is a failure. Only gullible dupes fall for such dishonest data manipulation shenanigans.

          • Hence, the author’s point #2 is further supported.

        • Chino780

          Its not the opposite, and it’s not within the range of uncertainty 95% of the time. That’s a lie and you know it. It’s all GIGO. You make it sound like they don’t “adjust” the models to get the desired results. Give me a break.

        • david russell

          If you are going to make stuff up, at least make it believable.

    • ParmaJohn

      The author made a short list answering your question.
      “Tenure, job promotions, government grants, media accolades, social respectability, Wikipedia entries, and vanity can do what gulags do, only more subtly. ”
      It’s probably not exhaustive, but it’ll do to get started. In my opinion one of the strongest motivators for scientists would be “saving the world” versus “another day crunching the most meaningless numbers ever.”

    • Will Haas

      There is no consnsus because scientists never registered and voted on the AGW conjecture. Even if there were a consensus, science is not a democracy. Theories are not validated through a voting process. The laws of science are not some form of legislation.

      At the root of the precieved consensus is the IPCC. The most important task for the IPCC has been to make an accurate determination of the climate sensivity of CO2. In their first report the IPCC published a wide range of their guesses as to the climate sensivity of CO2. In their last report the IPCC published the exact same range. So after more than two decades of effort the IPCC has learned nothing that would allow them to decrease the range of their guesses one iota. The IPCC sponsored a plethora of climate models. The large number of models is evidence that a lot of guess work was involved. The large number of different models predicted a wide range of values for today’s average global temperature. But the IPCC sponsored models all have one thing in common. They have all predicted global warming that did not happen. If these climate models were evidence of anything it is at there is something wrong with the AGW conjecture. Others have developed models that do not include any CO2 based warming that do adequately predict today’s global temperatures. Based on the success of these models and all the climate change that happened before the industrial revolution one should conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is cauaed by the sun and the oceans over which Mankind has no control. The IPCC fails to recognize such a conclusion for fear of losing their funding. It is all a matter of politics and not science.

      One researcher has found that the original calculations of the Planck climate sensivity of CO2, that is the climate sensivity not including any feedback effects, are too great by a factor of more than 20 because the original calculations ignored the fact that a doubling of CO2 will cause a decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect. So instead of 1.2 degrees C, the Planck climate sensivity of CO2 should really be .06 degrees C which is a trivial amount. Then their is the issue of feedbacks. The IPCC assumens that H2O provides a positive feedback and amplifies the effect of CO2 by an average factor of 3 but they are not sure exactly how much. What they have ignored is that H2O is a major coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere as exemplified that the wet lapse rate is signiicantly lower than the dry lapse rate. Also for the Earth’s climate to have been stable enough for life to evolve H2O feedback must be negative so instead amplifying the warming effect of CO2 by a factor of 3, H2O more than likely retards the warming effect of CO2 by a factor of 3 yielding a climate sensivity of CO2 of .02 degrees C which is rather trivial. Of course the IPCC totally ignores this logic for fear of losing their funding. It is all a matter of politics and not science.

      The AGW conjecture depends on the existance of a radiant greenhouse effect attributed to trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. But the reality is that such a greenhouse effect has not been observed on Earth or any where in the solar system. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction which renders the entire AGW conjecture as science fiction. Of course the IPCC will not recognize such for fear of losing their funding. It is all a matter of politics and not science.

      The precieved consensus is a matter of politics and not science.

  • Gabriel Lopes

    We live very short lives to have gathered enough data about weather, climate and the behaviour of the Sun during long cycles. Also Science and Technology were much too primitive when we had periods of temperature declining (even) in the close past centuries. As a matter of fact we know very little about the Sun in general, and almost 100% of the work on climate disregard our primary source of energy in accounting its effects over climate changes. Thus researchers have been trying to develop mathematical models to understand and devise the supposed climate changes. Not only these models are quite simple tools to understand the present situation but they rely on very little accurate data from the past. It’s almost insane relying on data acquired in the past, especially in distant countries with very limited access to technology and sciences but that’s all what we have. And what we have is very poor and not reliable data. Nothing will change this – neither even ‘adjustment tools’. But researchers have to pursuit fundings for their reasearch and have to publish papers to keep their positions. So they write about what they have… very limited software simulation operating on poor data. Not to mention that actually the satellite data differs considerably from the data acquired from ground-based stations. So this is it. Researchers will march for their fundings and to keep their jobs. Even though there is no real evidence that the world is warming right now (or even cooling as many others say it has started since the Sun entered its grand mimima period). And never forget: it’s always possible to torture data from simulations and statistics to obtain a confession…

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  • David Small

    The author makes a very intelligent argument. As a former academic, I can honestly say that I ran up against most of what is described in this article. I used to work in the field, doing Hydrology, Meteorology and Climatology research. For me, the most damning aspect of this debate is the downplaying of the uncertainty in the climate change projections. Remember, the output of the climate simulations are used as inputs to economic, crop, disease, flood, etc. models. The climate projections themselves have a HUGE amount of uncertainty which currently cannot be adequately estimated. Uncertain projections from the climate models are then put into non-linear economic, crop, flood models which have tremendous amounts of uncertainty themselves. The uncertainty cascade makes the projections of how this might impact humans completely useless until the uncertainty is quantified. Until the “scientific” community community decides that uncertainty is a part of science, I will continue to treat their projections with the contempt that they deserve.

    • ParmaJohn

      That’s what did it for me. I was looking to get this involved in the fight to save the world, and I started by researching the science–silly me, it would have been so much simpler to just go with the flow. My eyes were opened by a reading of the latest IPCC report. I started with the WG1 SPM, then drilled down through the synthesis report, and finally to the full work. The first document reassured me that we were on a path to destruction, the second one left me scratching my head, and the last one lead to the eye opening realization that there is absolutely non basis for the horrific claims, and almost no certainty in the conclusions beyond the personal judgement and opinions of a select, interested group of individuals.

      • Sparafucile

        I bet that, now, you don’t wonder why the loudest people bleating about AGW aren’t, in fact, scientists at all, but rather propagandists and politicians.

  • Tab Numlock

    Modern liberal academic science believes a lot of nutty things. That race is a “social construct”. That males and females differ only in their reproductive organs. That evolution only operates on individuals and not on groups. That extinction is always bad. That wind and solar are viable energy sources for entire nations. That increased CO2 is bad for the environment.

  • Helen Warn

    This is a brilliant article, applicable to many more issues than AGW.

    My approach has been to ask a simple, fundamental question about AGW — define it in a way that can be measured:

    Real scientists check out the value of their theories and hypotheses by using data. So let’s try that here.

    What, exactly, is being *measured*? And how accurate are those measurements, both now and over time? And how do you know what the contribution of human activity is to whatever you are measuring?

    I’ll make it even easier for you. Since AGW believers frequently bring up surface temperature, let’s look at it. After all, it’s about the simplest thing involved, isn’t it?

    So show me a map of the earth’s surface temperature, and a companion map of the margin of error.

    Then do the same thing in (say) 1900.

    If you prefer another atmospheric parameter than surface temperature, suggest it and provide reasons for your choice, and then answer the same questions.

    Finally, tell me what part of the differences is due to human activity, how you know, and how accurately you know it.

    So far, not one person has even attempted an answer. Just piles of ad homs.

    • Timothy Horton

      All of that information is readily available at the NOAA/NCDC web site.

      www(DOT)ncdc(DOT)noaa(DOT)gov/monitoring-references/faq/indicators(DOT)php

      Note there is a section with detailed info on how we know human activities are the large majority if not all of the cause.

      NASA GISS also has a large web site where you can get interactive maps with temperature going back to 1950

      data(DOT)giss(DOT)nasa(DOT)gov/gistemp/

      Now you have no excuse for repeating the usual climate change denier falsehoods.

      • Sparafucile

        Those are mathematical models, based upon speculation. They are not evidence for anything, any more than Star Wars is a blueprint for spacecraft design.

        • Timothy Horton

          No, they’re global maps and graphs made from actual measured temperatures. You didn’t even look at the sites,did you?

          • Sparafucile

            Now you’re just cherry-picking. How unsurprising.

          • Timothy Horton

            LOL! yep, you were too afraid to even look at the data.

      • Helen Warn

        So quote them.

        Crickets.

  • Will Haas

    Scientists never registered and voted on the AGW conjecture so there is not scientific consensus. The idea of a scientific consesus is an oxymoron because science is not done that way. Science is not a democratic process. Theories are not validated through a voting process. The laws of science are not some form of legislation.

    The reality is that the AGW conjecture depends upon the existance of a radiant greenhouse effect, caused in the Earth’s atmopshere via the LWIR absorption properties of certain trace gasses. But no such radiant greenhouse effect has ever been observed in the Earth’s atmosphere or anywhere else in the solar system. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction as is the AGW conjecture.

  • another way to tell bunk science is by the means of experimentation. when an agency launches a satellite to study “Global Warming”, you know that the results of the research are pre-concluded.

    • Timothy Horton

      Why would launching a satellite to study the planet be evidence of fraud?? LEO satellites are an ideal platform for multispectral sensors looking down at the planet’s atmosphere and surface. NASA has been flying such research satellites for over 50 years.

      • Jon Schubbe

        it’s just the wording i think. “study global warming” vs “study the causes of climate variation” or “study the effects humans have on climate”

      • if the intent of the result of the research is identified in the name of the project, then you know they are slanted.
        if you start an institute named “the institute for the study of white male subjection of women”, would you possibly think they will conclude that women are not being subjected by men?

        • Timothy Horton

          if the intent of the result of the research is identified in the name of the project, then you know they are slanted.

          What a silly claim. That the planet is warming is already an established fact. The satellites in question just return data on how much, and where, and the effects on things like deforestation / ice melt.

          If Oceanographers commissioned a study to measure ocean depth would that mean the study is bogus and the ocean is really shallow?

          • you didn’t answer my question.

          • Timothy Horton

            I gave a perfectly fine reply to your stupid loaded question. Your whole premise for complaining is pretty stupid actually.

  • J B

    This is EXACTLY what is happening in the vaccine safety debate right now. Thank you for clarifying what I already knew…vaccine policy IS politics.

  • Hacky Warez

    These are great tips for non-scientists! As an “actual” scientist (with a degree), my recommendation is for people to fully understand *any* claim. Having doubts is one thing. But, the most important question is, “Do you fully understand the claim?” And, I don’t care what anyone says. Anyone can understand any claim. If one person (a scientist) can understand it, then so can you. It’s simply a matter of acquiring knowledge to understand it. We’re *all* scientists. I have a degree. But I’m telling you straight up, I didn’t learn anything in college you can’t learn by surfing the web or making a trip to your public library. And, anyone who claims they did is *lying to you.*

    This article is certainly correct about another thing: There *is* a climate change occurring (it’s called “weather”). But, no one has demonstrated that humans are causing it. However, it has been demonstrated by actual scientists that there is a direct correlation between solar flares coming from the sun and the climate of the earth. But, more “popular” scientists have been hiding this from the public for decades. More research about how the sun affects the climate of the earth needs to be conducted. That’s what people ought to be marching for. Instead, they’re marching for– They probably don’t even know what.

  • Irene Neuner

    This is an excellent article. Update and rewrite it!

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