Global Warming: “Settled Science”?

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Let me begin by saying, I do not hate our planet, I am not “pro-pollution”, nor do I believe that humans should abuse our planet’s ecosystem. What I do believe in, however, is honest discourse. Whenever one particular side lies in any give issue misrepresents, tells “half-truths”, or tries to silence any dissension to their particular viewpoint, I am inclined to believe their position may not be accurate. If it was, why not simply rely on the data and evidence?

Let’s start with the “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.”

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Except, well Mr. President, they don’t. Where does this 97% figure come from? Several sources.

In 2004, Science magazine published an article titled “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change” written by Professor Naomi Oreskes in which she stated that out of 928 scientific abstracts from papers published by scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, 75% accepted the consensus view that human activities are responsible for climate change over the previous 50 years while none directly dissented.

Well:

  • Scores of articles by Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Sherwood Idso and Patrick Michaels, all prominent scientists who question the consensus, were left out of the sampling
  • Abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren’t substantiated in the papers: “even when scientists are motivated to promote the truth, their behavior may be influenced, and even dominated, by information gleaned from their peers’ behavior, rather than by their personal dispositions.” Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science

Why were the views of those scientists who disagreed left out? So the article is flawed because when you add the papers by those scientists, the numbers don’t add up.

In 2009, a study by Kendall Zimmerman, a University of Illinois master’s student, and her adviser, Peter Doran came to the conclusion that “the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent.” How did they reach this conclusion? They conducted a nine question online survey and sent it to more than 10,000 experts listed in the 2007 edition of the American Geological Institute’s directory of geoscience departments.

They received responses from 3,146 scientists, and then publicized the results from the following two questions:

 

  1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
  2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

The results? About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent with the second. So where does the 97% come from? From the “climate scientists” in the group. 79 of the 3,146 surveyed defined themselves as “climate scientists”. 77 of them, and 77 out of 79 people is 97%.

First of all, the obvious: a simple response to a question without any supporting evidence is not a sound scientific method of determining things. What someone “thinks”, without evidence, means little to nothing at all.

 

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