Is Skeptical Science wilfully dishonest or just plain stupid?


Dishonest or stupid?

It has to be one or the other [or maybe both – my bet is on both – Ed]. Because no matter how many times the 97% figure is shown to be misleading, they keep on plugging away with it, witness the latest example, with the accompanying graphic on the right:

The epidemic of climate science false balance in the media

False balance in media reporting on climate change is a big problem for one overarching reason: there is a huge gap between the 97 percent expert consensus on human-caused global warming, and the public perception that scientists are evenly divided on the subject.

This can undoubtedly be traced in large part to the media giving disproportionate coverage to the opposing fringe climate contrarian views. Research has shown that people who are unaware of the expert consensus are less likely to accept the science and less likely to support taking action to address the problem, so media false balance can be linked directly to our inability to solve the climate problem. (source)

What this translates to is frustration that the media (for once) isn’t being taken in by Un-Sk Ps-Sc‘s statistical gymnastics.

Un-Sk Ps-Sc have refined this kind of nonsense into an art form, in order to maintain their dogmatic narrative in the face of any contrary evidence. For example, many writers on climate from both sides of the debate have acknowledged that there has been some kind of levelling off of temperature in the last decade or so, or a pause, but not Un-Sk Ps-Sc, oh no. Using classic misdirection, Un-Sk Ps-Sc forgets about surface temperatures, on which it previously obsessed, and shifted focus onto the mysterious ‘missing heat’ in the oceans, claiming that warming continues as rapidly as before. See here for more on that.

Likewise with the nonsensical 97% consensus figure, which, each time it is used, subtracts yet another chunk of what little credibility Un-Sk Ps-Sc may have once had [not a lot – Ed]. Notice that “agree on global warming” is vague enough to allow a huge swathe of opinion to be included, therefore supposedly supporting this ludicrous percentage. But maintaining this fictional number is essential to the autocrats at Un-Sk Ps-Sc, because it can then be used to bully media organisations into giving even less time to any contrary arguments than they do already, i.e. to silence critics.

It is likely that a similar percentage of sceptics ‘agree on global warming’ to the extent that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, humans have added CO2 to the atmosphere and that the additional CO2 will have caused some warming of the planet. But if the question were more honestly framed, for example, what percentage of climate scientists ‘agree on global warming’ AND consider that the effects on the climate are likely to be catastrophic AND consider mitigation to be the only option, and I suggest the figure would be considerably lower.

The ‘false balance’ that Un-Sk Ps-Sc harps on about isn’t about whether climate change is happening or whether humans are in part to blame, but more about the magnitude of the problem and how we should respond.

But that doesn’t make for anywhere near as nice a graphic, does it?

They can’t back away from it now, of course, given that there’s a Guardian column, written by Un-Sk Ps-Sc’s Nuccitelli, with 97% in the freaking title…


  1. SkS claiming that the public is deluding themselves about “reality” is incredibly ironic. That they then claim that media coverage is disproportionate doubles the irony.

    I read both independent and mainstream news, and I could count the number of articles in the mainstream media presenting views that are not pro-AGW on one hand; with no fingers. Non-existence is a little hard to prove, so I’ll leave it up to SkS to prove the supposed disproportion.

  2. Charles Johnson says:

    I think the public realise there is climate change, it’s the anthropogenic part we don’t believe.

  3. Nice one, Simon. Again.

    I’ll bet you studied Latin, Plain English, and Logic somewhere along the line. Possibly the lot. Common sense no doubt came with the genes.

    Pity about the other side, who appear to have missed out.

  4. No. It is Climate change madness that has it wrong. very Sorry.

    • That begs the question, sorry for what? What did you do?

    • I have a simple view on such things – if we are being honest with ourselves, the science doesnt support the CAGW proponents vews/theories. We have seen comparisons of actual data with theories – the data nullified the pro-CAGW theories.

      When people who should know better, constantly pmup out the “97%” nonsense, it ceases to be science, and becomes propaganda.

      Science is not propaganda – because in scioence, a theory lives or dies by its veracity.

      In Propganda – a theory lieves or dies by a combination of the ferocity of “the sell” and the gullibility of the audient.

      As such, based on logic, CAGW is propagnda, not science.


  5. There’s an old Russian saying which Stalin used frequently, to the effect that if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as truth. Kirsty Douglas gives that saying credence.

    • What I dont like is that when you ready the shrill “conform or else” tone of what written, it sounds a tad tyranical.

      Climate Change = UN Agenda 21 = Something evil this way comes.

      “The United Nations is currently working on a far-reaching plot, developed with radical Obama administration policy architect John Podesta, to “profoundly and dramatically” alter your “worldview” in the name of shackling humanity under a UN-managed “universal sustainable development agenda.” According to the controversial report produced for UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon by a team of establishment “eminent persons,” within the next six years, no realm of the human experience will escape the “profound transformation” toward “a new paradigm” demanded by globalist bureaucrats.

      The UN document, while packed with contradictory machinations, essentially outlines what establishment proponents of global government have long described as a “New World Order.” In essence, the UN panel called for a top-down restructuring of human civilization under the guise of tackling poverty, “unsustainable” activities, and “climate change.” The international outfit and its mostly dictatorial member regimes will set the agenda, with regional, national, and sub-national governments expected to foist it on humanity.

      Literally every person on Earth must submit and contribute, the planetary establishment claimed on multiple occasions in the radical document. It was not immediately clear what would happen with those who refuse.

      The report on the “Post-2015 Development Agenda,” dubbed “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies Through Sustainable Development,” was compiled and endorsed by a “High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons.” Under the plan, expected to be discussed later this year at a UN meeting in New York, a planetary treaty on “sustainable development” would drastically transform everything from government and the economy to society and even individuals’ beliefs.

      “Perhaps the most important transformative shift is towards a new spirit of solidarity, cooperation, and mutual accountability that must underpin the post-2015 agenda,” the report says. “This partnership should involve governments but also include others: people living in poverty, those with disabilities, women, civil society and indigenous and local communities, traditionally marginalised groups, multilateral institutions, local and national government, the business community, academia and private philanthropy.” In other words, everyone and everything.

      Among the primary justifications for the radical schemes are fighting “poverty” and so-called “climate change,” which the UN continues to blame on humanity despite the total implosion of its theories and models. On poverty, meanwhile, the UN has openly announced its intentions to reduce standards of living worldwide — along with population levels — and implement totalitarian controls over the economy. Every credible economist knows such anti-market measures will drastically slash material prosperity.

      • luisadownunder says:

        This is very clear in what is happening in the Ukraine at the moment. The Russians are seen, as always, as the bogey men here whereas, in this situation, they are actually Ukraine’s saviours from the extreme right of the left-wing neo-nazis which have taken power and want to de-stabilize the majority rule. Interesting times ahead.

        That Obama is behind attempts to make “global warming” or “climate change” part of the landscape rather than a diversion is in line with his policies, as stated by that shrill Kerry, in the unsettling situation in Ukraine.

  6. If someone was convinced the Earth was flat, you’d not start your argument with them by saying a 100% of scientists agree it’s not. Even before you had to get technical you could show them photos from space, videos of travel pole to pole and round the equator. You might throw in a bit of history as knowledge of the spherical nature of the planet was known long before it became scientific fact and it came and went as political fashion changed. Many adults would have a good stab at explaining the technical proof, without even resorting to looking at Wikipedia. They’d even throw in something about heliocentricity without even realising it. But if you failed to persuade you’d just roll your eyes, safe in the knowledge that only nutters didn’t agree with you.

    For poor warming activists, all they have to go on is a short period of warming and measurements of CO2 going up. If they’re crafty they show the warming since 1850 and pretend it’s all man made. If they don’t do that, they show the warming from 1979 and then cut the graph off before too much of the recent pause is apparent. They don’t want the public to know the effect was supposed to start in 1950 and that this is the second pause in warming. There has now been more pause than warming and that’s hard to explain away. Next they’d bluster about worsening weather, despite that being a real area of contention amongst the scientists and largely believed to be uninfluenced so far. Polar ice is good to drop in but the Antarctic is almost taboo. They used to mention the polar bears a lot but the pesky beasts refuse to die off like they’re supposed to. The warmist would instead segue into how all the opposition was paid for by oil barons using the same techniques as cigarette companies. The finale is always the 97%/98%/100% of scientists agree clincher. For good luck they might throw in how you’d not ignore a brain tumour if 97% of doctors agreed you had one. Because the existence of doctors is proof that scientists are always right… Except at one point, the consensus way to resuscitate a drowned person, was to blow tobacco smoke up the poor victim’s bottom. So accepted was this, that there were kits for such a procedure placed along the Thames in London. Consensus can be very, very wrong. Irrespective of which end of the debate or indeed the tube, the smokers and the scientists would be on.

    So pity the poor warmist with so little to make their case.

    • Throgmorton says:

      Ah, the old doctor diversion! I would go with the 3% of course, because those would be the specialists, while the 97% would be G.P.s who had referred their patients to the specialists for tests. It is pretty easy to subvert the original leading intent of the question to its opposite, and this answer is arguably more plausible.

      But the question is ill formed, in any case, since it presumes that one should give complete credulity to the physician’s word, without any context, and without question. The fact is that neither medical practitioners nor patients assign such omniscience to medical science. If we did, we would pay doctors a lot more, and there would be no malpractice suits.

  7. luisadownunder says:

    They’re flogging a dead horse….and they know it.

  8. Rathnakumar says:

    I hope you did not miss the second parody video on SkS.

  9. Alex Hamilton says:

    They are wilfully dishonest because they delete comments which prove them wrong. I will attempt to post the comment below now, and you can watch if they delete it.

    Valid physics tells us there is no warming caused by water vapor or any other greenhouse gas. A planet’s surface may be partly warmed by direct solar radiation, but even that is not found to be necessary on some other planets. Nor is any radiation from a colder atmosphere able to raise the temperature of a surface because that would be a process in which entropy had decreased. Radiation from the atmosphere plays a part in slowing surface cooling, but what does most of the slowing are nitrogen and oxygen molecules which slow conduction from the surface.

    But none of these processes are what plays the main role in setting and controlling surface temperatures. The amount of solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere and the thermal gradient that forms autonomously in a gravitational field according to the laws of physics are the main factors determining these temperatures. This is very obvious on other planets, but as we stand in the nice warm sunshine on Earth we get somewhat confused as to what’s warming what. Just remember that there is absolutely no evidence in temperature records that the greenhouse gas water vapor increases mean surface temperatures. That fact is a bit of a bother for those who try to imagine the temperature trends show sensitivity to carbon dioxide, when in fact they are mostly just showing the main 1,000 year and 60 year natural cycles regulated by the planets.

  10. Alex Hamilton says:

    There we go. My comment is (was) #20 on SkS after this #19 comment on SkS. If Cookey boy doesn’t read and delete it soon then I predict it will be followed by the usual SkS trolls calling me an idiot or whatever, but not producing any link to any study which shows deserts really are colder than rain forests at similar altitudes and latitudes. I have reviewed a study (being published in April) which shows the exact opposite based on temperature and precipitation records for inland tropical cities in Australia, Africa and South America.

  11. Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia says:

    Sceptical Science: aren’t they funded by a Krudd Gillard grant or something? Someone, please turn the tap off.

  12. Alex Hamilton says:

    This one will really test SkS honesty – let’s see if they dare to run an article on Loschmidt which I would thrash them over …

    Here is my second comment #25 just posted on that SkS thread …

    25.Alex Hamilton at 14:04 PM on 1 March, 2014

    Moderator: As Tom Dayton pointed out, there is no thread discussing the autonomous thermal gradient that evolves at the molecular level as the isentropic state of maximum entropy in a gravitational field – a now proven fact of thermodynamic physics which happens to have been the subject of my postgraduate research for several years. That is understandable, of course, because there is no need for any extra “33 degrees of warming” if Loschmidt was right. Seeing that no one has proved Loschmidt wrong, and modern physics has been used to prove him right, I’ll do occasional searches on SkS for the word “Loschmidt” (which does not appear anywhere on the site at the moment) and then perhaps respond to any post or comment thereon. Meanwhile you might like to search for any study which uses real world temperature and precipitation data to confirm that the sensitivity to a 1% increase in water vapor above a region is several degrees of warming. I happen to have reviewed a study (to be published in April) which shows the sensitivity is negative, which of course is what is to be expected because the Loschmidt effect causes even warmer surface temperatures which are then reduced because the wet lapse rate is less steep.

    0 0

  13. uhavitbad says:

    Australia is a continent,
    Or condiment?

  14. Paper showing Deep Oceans are not nearly as warm as they have been for most all of the past 10,000 years, and have been only slightly warming since their low point roughly 400 years ago?

    Click to access Rosenthal%20ocean%20temps%20Supplementary%20Materials.pdf


    Papers showing the Climate was warmer all over the Globe during the Medieval Warming Period, when said Deep Oceans started decreasing in temperatures?
    check! … check! … check! … check! … check! (etc etc, etc)

    Paper showing the much herald “97%” is actually just a pitiful “0.3%” instead?

    Click to access Legatesetal13-Aug30-Agnotology%5B1%5D.pdf


    Paper which laments “Herding” in Science, where facts take a back seat to the desired outcome of the herd?

    Paper worried about the widespread “Fabrication and Falsification” in Science (otherwise known as “Scientific Misconduct”) in an effort to reach desired outcomes?

    Paper proving CO2 is somehow responsible for “the catastrophic, unprecedented and obviously unnatural warming since 1950” that the IPCC and Alarmists everywhere are constantly ranting and railing about?
    … uhm …
    … well …
    … yeah, sorry, I just cant find this one

    Evidence the “warming” is not actually “unprecedented” and “unnatural” though?
    … yay, I was able to get back on track – check!

    Evidence the warming from the low-point of 1950-Today is anything but catastrophic, and instead not warming over that time would have been the real catastrophe?

    Click to access 1974.pdf


    I feel that is enough to rest my case. What say you, SkS?

    • manicbeancounter says:

      The reply from SkS would be that 97% of experts disagree with you. Their implied belief is that experts have thought the problem through and agreed an unambiguous conclusion. They also have a belief that any evidence of warming or extreme weather supports their catastrophist views and by implication rebuts anything that you might. As there is no possibility of disagreement, still less that they might be fundamentally wrong, any voiced disagreement is because you are in blatant denial of the evidence because you gullibly accept cranky ideas; or it contradicts your offensive political views; or you have been taken in by misinformation; or you have been paid to lie; or some other motive the experts are able perceive without have even met you.
      There is another belief. We can avert catastrophe by a series of political policies, which involves everyone pulling together and doing their bit. The identification of the problem points to the only solution. Disagreement with the truth of climate change is often from having errant political views. Such views must be crushed, as they endanger all our futures.

      To use a legal analogy
      SkS base their prosecution case on hearsay evidence that has been tampered with. They set the rules of the court, and deny the defendant a right to speak. The prosecution also serves as the defence, and never attempt to speak to the defendant. The purpose of the trial is to get to a single conclusion, not to reach a decision. Any evidence that you shout out is a motivated disruption, aimed at destroying the constituted proceedings.

  15. Manfred says:

    One could well argue that the 97% consensus is nothing more than an unconscious phallic symbol, as described by the venerable Dr Sigmund Freud. It is, if you will, analagous to the long desirable bonnet of a sports car or the long fat cigar, the unconscious projection of the male phallus. It is merely symbolism and hysterical over-compensation.

    To the tiny number of atmospheric climate ‘scientists’, 97% represents a collective and unconsious phallic projection. A big shiny pallic number and a gaseous political construct, in reality it personifies the miniscule, desperate to prove the gigantic. They claim a settled ‘science’, when in fact they are drowning in a gigantic sea of unknowns.

  16. Joe Logan says:

    There is no proof that “Global warming” in any way affects “climate change”.

    • Among the many things that lack empirical evidence.

      It can’t be proved co2 is compounding due to human activity either as the sink is unquantified.

  17. Slightly off topic, but I keep reading about a pause, or a hiatus in warming. I look at the stats and I see it has stopped, a pause or hiatus suggests this is temporary. Is there any (substantiated) evidence that this is the case? If not, we should all STOP using these words – pause or hiatus- and use CEASED. That is not to say that the climate will not change, and indeed temperatures may start to rise again as they have in the past, ( That would be a recommencing of global warming) or fall, as they have in the past. At the moment, global warming has CEASED – Please let’s try to get this word out and try to get people to acknowledge the truth of it.

  18. Will J. Browne says:

    “But if the question were more honestly framed, for example, what percentage of climate scientists ‘agree on global warming’ AND consider that the effects on the climate are likely to be catastrophic AND consider mitigation to be the only option, and I suggest the figure would be considerably lower.”

    What’s your position? Is it that you don’t agree on Climate Change, that you don’t think its effect will be catastrophic, or that you don’t think mitigation is the best option for dealing with it? They’re three separate positions, but on websites like this they tend to get muddled up together, like in your proposed question.

    [REPLY: There is nothing ‘muddled’ in my position, and there never has been in five years of writing this blog (despite your churlish attempts to portray otherwise). CO2 is a GHG, it will cause warming, that warming is likely to be mild, not catastrophic, and that attempts to mitigate are a waste of money. Clear enough now?]

  19. Will J. Browne says:

    Here’s what one of your admiring acolytes (Charles Johnson) has to say above:
    “I think the public realise there is climate change, it’s the anthropogenic part we don’t believe.”
    So it’s warming but we’re not causing it.

    Now, you’re telling that we are causing warming, but it won’t be that bad, and anyway it would be a waste of time doing anything about it.
    In other words we are causing it, but it’s not warming that much.

    It doesn’t seem to be that clear to be honest. I wonder if Charles knows that you fundamentally disagree with him.

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