It seems to me, that whenever I get involved in a discussion of Global Warming, that infamous statistic, “97 percent of all scientists believe Global Warming is caused by man” comes up.
A time back, I wrote an article debunking that statement, but I guess it’s just too juicy to let go of for a Warmista (A true believer in anthropogenic [man caused] Global Warming). So, I’ll have at it again, for all the good it will do.
Years ago, when I first heard that figure, I laughed. I’ve never, ever heard of a large group of people of any persuasion who agreed to that degree, 97 percent, on any complex issue, much less one with the complexity of earth’s climate. The closest thing I found is a Communist election. Their leaders always get overwhelming support — or they die.
People who quote that figure can never tell you how it was arrived at, so I will. In truth, it was from a paper written by an assistant professor at John Mason University — an assistant professor, not a scientist or climatologist. He founded a website called Skeptical Science, which is used solely for telling anyone who disagrees with him that they are wrong.
I’m quite sure I’d get the same reception from him. But, certain political people believed his views, such as Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Neither of them are climatologists, either.
So, how was it proven, this weirdly high number? There are about 7,000 climatologists in the whole world, so, to be accurate, each one of their views would have to have been considered. Were they? No one knows the answer to that question, but it must be no.
It turns out that Cook only reviewed an unknown number of scientific papers from scientists — scientists of all stripes, not just climatologists.
Here is Cook’s own words on his review: “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97 percent [of the papers he reviewed, not the sum total of all the world’s scientists] endorsed the view that the earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the MAIN cause.”
I capitalized that word because it is critical. In real science, it means more than half. The main cause implies that there are more causes not mentioned that are also contributing to theoretical warming.
So, how did Cook come up with that 97 percent figure? Cook created a category called, “explicit endorsement without quantification.” These papers Cook admits did not say specifically what percentage of the warming was caused by man, from 1 percent to 100 percent.
He created another category called, “implicit endorsement” for papers that imply (but don’t say) there is some global warming caused by man but didn’t quantify it. His paper claimed these two categories endorsed his views, which they clearly did not.
If Cook’s paper was totally wrong about the 97 percent figure, how did it get so widely spread about even though it is false? Because enough scientists didn’t raise a hullabaloo! They probably figured that an inaccurate paper written by some assistant professor would never find the light of day. How wrong they were.
Some objected to having their work corrupted by Cook. Dr. Richard Tol wrote, “Cook’s survey included 10 of my 122 eligible papers. 5/10 were rated incorrectly. 4/5 were rated endorse rather than neutral.”
Dr. Craig Idso said, “That is not an accurate representation of my paper…”
Dr. Nir Shaviv stated, “Nope — it is not an accurate representation.”
Dr. Nicola Scafetta said, “Cook et al (2013) is based on a straw man argument…”
The Guardian, June 6, 2014 claims: “the claim of a 97 percent consensus does not stand up.”
PopularTechnology.net, June 1 and June 4, 2013 went beyond that and stated: “Further analysis of Cook et al. (2013) reveals it was created as a propaganda campaign not a scientific study and is shown to be statistically worthless by Dr. Tol.”
There is no way to include all the names of all the scientists who have spoken against that 97 percent figure in a single article, but if you do your own homework, they are there.
Bud Simpson writes a weekly column published in The Logan Daily News. The views of this column may not necessary reflect that of the newspaper.