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Fact Checking the ABC — the Big-Myth about the “World’s Scientists”

The ABC bias is now so obvious, everyone with an open mind and an Internet connection knows that the ABC report the parts that suit, and hide the rest. They even edit the words of skeptics to produce sentences that were never actually spoken. But what I saw last night was a flagrantly wrong statement, counter to the truth, reported as if it were so above question it did not even need explanation, qualification or substantiation. It’s time to squeeze the ABC for accuracy.

One of the Big-Myths in this debate is that the opinions of “climate scientists” equals the opinion of “scientists in general”. All over Australia last night hundreds of thousands of Australians heard this statement as narration in the main news bulletin:

“World’s scientists reckon the climates never felt anything like them in close to a million years…”  — 4:40mins ABC News report Nov 3, 2014

Ignoring the point that the sentence is grammatically incoherent, it is misleading and demonstrably false. The “World’s Scientists” don’t reckon anything, they have never been surveyed, have not voted for a spokesperson, and inasmuch as anyone could estimate the “world’s scientists” opinions,  actual surveys show that skeptics would outnumber and outrank the believers.

The fact is (and any genuine reporter would find this out easily) almost half  of meteorologists — fergoodnesssake — are skeptics, survey after survey shows that two-thirds of geoscientists and engineers are skeptics, and most readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in  comments^) have hard science degrees. Dan Kahan conducted a survey of 1,500 people and found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical. In other words, skeptics were better informed about science^. If we had to name a list of skeptics versus believers, the skeptics number 31,000, yet there is no list of named scientists who believe that comes close — let alone a list of 300,000 which would imply some truth to the statement that the science is settled, and the world’s scientists agree.

A tiny percentage of total scientists would call themselves “climate scientists”. They have never been able to convince the tens of thousands of other scientists with their bizarre theory about a trace gas being the dominant driver of our climate. Around the world climate scientists say one thing, but tens of thousands of physicists, engineers, mathematicians, chemists, and medical science leaders disagree. Skeptical scientists have won Nobel Prizes in Physics* (and we don’t count “Peace” as a prize in science) and they’ve walked on the Moon, flown around it, and returned to Earth. Unskeptical scientists have wasted billions of dollars, predicted warming that didn’t happen, asked for desalination plants that were not needed, and told everyone to stop the storms by building windmills.

Only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter that mattered in the IPCC Assessment Report 4, and presumably the numbers wouldn’t be that different in the latest report. The ABC’s careless attitude to reporting accurately portrays the opinions of a few scientists (who have a bad record of predictions) as if they represent the opinions of an entire profession numbering in the order of 10 million. The ABC staff are reporting what they would liketo be true.

UPDATE: Only 43% of certified climate scientists agree with the IPCC “consensus” that man-made CO2 is the main driver of climate change. 

Science is not a set of discrete subjects with separate rules

The same laws of logic, reason and physics and the same limits of statistics apply to every sub-branch. If one tiny group of scientists has a theory they should be able to convince the rest. If they can’t explain and verify their theory with nuclear physicists or geologists and atmospheric chemists there is something wrong with the theory. The ABC’s Catalyst program, supposedly produced by a “science unit”, made the same mistake a few weeks ago.

The ABC has become a naked propaganda unit for big-government. It is beyond saving. The sloppy research standards and the culture of gullibility regarding government and official press releases are endemic. Sell if off for the good of the nation. (We can pay off some big-government debt.)

In the meantime, for entertainment, people can write to the ABC asking them to provide substantiation of their statements that the “world’s scientists” believe the IPCC pronouncements. If they name scientific associations, ask them whether that association actually surveyed its members. Almost none of them do. Members of the largest and most influential associations have risen up in protest at the official declarations produced by “committees of six” self-appointed association fellows. See the American Physical Society, The Royal SocietyAmerican Chemical Society, and Aust Geological Society.

If we have to have a public broadcaster (and I don’t see why we do) they can start again with people who meet the low bar of being able to speak in accurate English, with defined terms, and who can substantiate everystatement or issue a correction and apology.

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* Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize in Physics 1973, Robert Laughlin, Nobel Prize in Physics 1998. NASA Apollo Astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, Harrison (Jack) Schmitt , Walter Cunningham, Charles Duke, Richard Gordon.

^Added the brackets. Fair point. Thanks to Dry in comments. Respondents to surveys and people who chose to make comments are self selecting. I added the note about the Dan Kahan study which also supports the theory that skeptics are better with numbers than believers. His was not self selecting.

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