John Cook’s lie of epic proportions!

I’m too tired to write anything substantial, but Anthony Watts has a new post at Watts Up With That (WUWT) called the 97% consensus – a lie of epic proportions.

So, what is the basic problems? John Cook’s recent survey considered almost 12000 papers – published between 1991 and 2011 – that were about either “global warming” or “global climate change”. Of those 12000 papers about 33% addressed whether global warming is man-made or not. According to John Cook’s survey, 97% of those that addressed whether or not global warming was man-made, agreed that it was man-made (i.e., endorsed anthropogenic global warming – AGW). John Cook has, therefore, been stressing that 97% of papers addressing AGW, endorse AGW. The issue, according to Anthony Watts, is that he’s ignoring the almost 67% that made no mention of AGW. Therefore, according to Anthony Watts, his 97% claim is a lie of epic proportions.

I happen to disagree with Anthony Watts. I don’t think the 67% that made no mention of AGW should really be included. One can’t claim that it is because they were uncertain. It’s more likely that it was because it wasn’t relevant to their particular study.

However, if Anthony is so perturbed by this supposed lie and if he thinks all 12000 papers should be included in the description of what fraction endorsed AGW or not, then presumably we should just change the headline to “only 0.7% of papers reject AGW”. That’s both consistent with the results of the survey and consistent with Anthony Watts’s view of how the results should be presented.

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5 Responses to John Cook’s lie of epic proportions!

  1. Sou says:

    It’s worse than that. Anthony is trying to say that the other 8000 or so that don’t address the issue reject it. He says it more than once, it’s not just a slip of the keyboard.

    One of his favourite posters (seriously, the sun chap who is one of Anthony’s inner circle) has pointed out several times that they don’t reject it. Anthony’s not listening.

    Who’s telling lies? Answer: Anthony Watts.

  2. So, does that mean that the scientific community now rejects the germ theory of disease? I mean what percentage of published journal papers published in the last century have specifically declared the germ theory of disease to be valid?

  3. Precisely. Not every paper in a field needs to address certain specific factors. It really does depend on whether or not it’s relevant to their study. I would certainly interpret the lack of a mention of AGW in the abstracts of 67% of the papers as indicating it wasn’t relevant to their study, rather than indicating that these papers were uncertain.

    Maybe Anthony sees it as being comparable to a low turnout in an election. If 67% of the voting population didn’t vote, how do you know that the winner is actually the person that most wanted to see elected. One of the main differences here is obviously this isn’t an election, but also that (I imagine) a large number of the authors of the 67% of papers that didn’t discuss AGW will also be authors of papers that did. Would be interesting to know the overlap.

  4. He does indeed. I hadn’t read many of the comments when I wrote this. Amazing. Complete misinterpretation of what is very clearly explained in the paper and in the press release.

  5. Pingback: Chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change committee: Humans may not be to blame for global warming | Follow The Money

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