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Consensus? What consensus?

Posted By JoNova On January 15, 2010 @ 5:17 am In AGW socio-political,Global Warming,The Skeptics Handbook | Comments Disabled

How many scientists does it take to prove the debate is not over? More than 30,000 scientists have signed The Petition Project. More than 9,000 of them have PhDs (not that that proves anything about carbon, but it does prove something about the myth of “consensus”). The petition’s wording is unequivocal:

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.” Source: www.petitionproject.org

The Petition Project is funded by donations from individuals and run by volunteers. It receives no money from industry or companies. In late 2007, The Petition Project re-did the petition to verify names again.

CARTOON, The Real Consensus at the IPCC, climate science, monopolistic funding.

AGW says: Everyone knows the petition is bogus and filled with duplicate and fake names.

Skeptics say: Name 10 fakes.

NOTE: This is potentially distracting. Science is not democratic. The numbers and qualifications on either side don’t matter except to put an end to the statement that “the debate is over.” Science is not done by consensus. The climate does not respond to boatloads of scientists, no matter how much hot air they produce.
When did scientists vote anyway?


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I’m posting the pages of The Skeptics Handbooks one by one, so people can discuss each idea, and so there is a html version.

The Petition Project is undervalued

As a sociological phenomenon, it’s probably the largest grassroots movement of scientists in history. It means that we skeptical scientists can name more scientists with similar views than unskeptical scientists can, even though they have so much more funding. It blows away the claim that there is a consensus. It blows away the idea that being a skeptic is a minority fringe, and because the list keeps growing, it blows away the idea that skeptics are shrinking.

Yet despite all that, the media has almost universally ignored it. (Which blows away the idea that the media give people the news).

There are plenty of attempts to bring it down:

  • People attack old versions of this (like New Scientist did) it’s the old smear by association. Most of those points were improved in the later version. None of them detract from the idea that there is a significant body of intelligent and well educated people who don’t agree with the IPCC.
  • Some say it was not peer reviewed (which is just another false gate-keeper tactic to deny the evidence).
  • Some mock it for the names that were duplicates (but the duplicates have been removed and in 30,000 names there are sometimes two people with the same name.)
  • Others claim that only “climate scientists” would count (as if PhD’s in Physics can’t read a graph).  Though none of these people seem to think there’s anything wrong with Climate-according-to-Leonardo-Di-Caprio.

 

The petition project was done by volunteers and it was done twice.

The petition itself may be actively ignored, but it’s obviously having an effect.  Unskeptical Scientists appear to be trying to make one of their own. At a recent University seminar (aiming to explain the “psychology of Deniers”) there were multiple copies of “petition-like” clipboards, and requests for people to sign the pages with their names and qualifications.

By the way, the “real consensus” cartoon came to me as long ago as the UNFCCC conference in Bali in 2007. It was one of the first ones I did on the topic, and still remains one of my favourites.
Update: Dec 26, 2015

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