We last encountered anti-Kyoto activist John Humphreys in this post when I tried to get him to correct a post that incorrectly claimed that satellites showed a cooling temperature trend and he responded by repeatedly accusing me of lying. Now he’s back with three more zombie arguments:
Peiser proved Oreskes wrong. (Actually, it was Peiser who was wrong).
Bray’s survey shows that there is significant dissent for the consensus amongst climate scientists. (But the URL and password were posted to a global warming skeptic mailing list so it included some unknown number of skeptics as well as climate scientists. This made the survey useless.)
The Oregon Petition shows scientists dissent from the consensus. (However, the Oregon Petition actually expresses doubt about catastrophic warming. Almost all of the signers were not climate scientists and were uninformed on the issues.
Humphreys’ comments on the Peiser affair are particularly misleading, since he is aware that Peiser admit that he had wrongly classified 33 of the 34 abstracts that he claimed disputed the consensus. Here’s what Humphreys wrote:
One part of the debate (used by Gore in his movie) comes from the study by Naomi Oreskes that claimed 0/928 abstracts for academic papers on global warming doubted the mainstream position and that 75% back the consensus view. Benny Peiser tried the same trick and found different results with less than 2% explicitly backing the consensus*, some showing skepticism and most giving no opinion (and 15 not even offering abstracts). Both papers have been criticised and both authors have admitted mistakes. Peiser continues to insist that Oreskes is wrong to claim unanimous support of the consensus view and cites numerous examples to the contrary.
Notice how he glosses over Peiser’s 97% error rate in classifying abstracts by saying that both authors had admitting mistakes. Oreskes’ mistakes* did not affect her point — that the debate about the consensus we see in newspapers does not exist in the scientific journals. Peiser’s mistakes, on the other hand, destroy his argument — the debate he claimed existed in the literature did not exist.
Humphreys also tells his readers that Peiser found that some of the abstracts showed skepticism without also telling them that Peiser eventually retracted this claim. As for Peiser’s claim that less than 2% (13 abstracts) explicitly supported the consensus, given how wrong Peiser was about the number that doubted the consensus you’d expect him to have gotten that wrong as well and he did. I did a quick check and looked at just two years worth of abstracts (2002 and 2003) and found 15 that explicitly accepted the consensus. And in any case, papers which implicitly accept the consensus, for example by proposing to mitigate global warming by sequestering CO2 should also count.
Humphreys then misrepresents Oreskes’ argument by suggesting that she said that there were no papers anywhere that disputed the consensus, when we she really said that there were no such papers in her sample, implying that such papers were very rare.
When I raised these points in Humphreys’ comments, true to form he responded by repeatedly accusing me of lying.