Climate-Contrarian Research: Rebutted by Peer Review, Soaked Up by MSM

Given recent attention to the issue of consensus in climate change research, this is a good time to mention a paper that came out recently by John Abraham, John Cook, John Fasullo, Peter Jacobs, Scott Mandia and Dana Nuccitelli called "Review of the consensus and asymmetric quality of research on human-induced climate change."

I'll paste the abstract below but first I'll summarize it in a sentence. The few papers that explicitly deny the basic science of climate change are rightfully rejected by the peer review process because they are crap. Bit they do find more attention by main stream media, presumably because main stream media is inadequate to the task of addressing actual important issues.

Here's the abstract for the paper published in Cosmopolis.

Climate science is a massively interdisciplinary field with different areas understood to varying degrees. One area that has been well understood for decades is the fundamental fact that humans are causing global warming. The greenhouse effect has been understood since the 1800s, and subsequent research has refined our understanding of the impact of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases on the planet. Also increasing has been the consensus among the world’s climate scientists that the basic principles of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are correct. This has been demonstrated by multiple reinforcing studies that the consensus of scientists on the basic tenets of AGW is nearly unanimous. Nevertheless, the general public in many countries remains unconvinced not only of the existence of AGW, but also of the degree of scientific consensus. Additionally, there remain a few high-profile scientists who have continued to put forth alternative explanations for observed climatic changes across the globe. Here, we summarize research on the degree of agreement amongst scientists and we assess the quality of scholarship from the contrarian scientists. Many major contrarian arguments against mainstream thinking have been strongly challenged and criticized in the scientific literature; significant flaws have often been found. The same fate has not befallen the prominent consensus studies.

Dana Nuccitelli, one of the authors, wrote a summary of the paper here, in which he notes:

Despite the 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming supported by peer-reviewed research, expert opinion, the IPCC reports, and National Academies of Science and other scientific organizations from around the world, a large segment of the population remains unconvinced on the issue. A new commentary by Edward Maibach, Teresa Myers and Anthony Leiserowitz in Earth's Future notes that most people don't know there is a scientific consensus about human-caused climate change, which undermines public engagement on the subject.

This 'consensus gap' is in large part due the media giving disproportionate coverage to climate contrarians. In our paper, we sought to evaluate whether that disproportionate media coverage was justified by examining how well contrarian hypotheses have withstood scientific scrutiny and the test of time. The short answer is, not well.

The consensus gap in public opinion is mirrored by, and relates to, an expertise gap among the researchers. Abraham et al note in their paper:

Insofar as these contrarian themes are representative of other contrarian viewpoints, our findings reinforce those of Anderegg et al., (2010) who found lower expertise and prominence among the contrarian scientists and those of Doran and Zimmermann (2009) who found that as scientific expertise increased, so did certainty in the main premises of AGW. Here we find case study evidence that the science representing major contrarian views is less robust than the counterparts that reflect the AGW consensus.

I remember Jerry Rubin once saying "The masses are asses." Wikipedia does not, and claims it was Karl Rove. Other sources cite Alexander Hamilton, but apparently it is an old Yiddish proverb. In any event, it is true, of course, but it is not really their fault. The fact that the vast majority of the public arrive at scientific conclusions as a matter of enculturation and not actually replicating the science is exactly what we expect; people are busy and simply want to be informed from reliable sources. The problem is, the sources ... are not so reliable. But within climate science it is interesting to see that the non-consensus positions are expressed in the form of low quality research which tends to not pass mustard in the peer review process because it just isn't good enough. In other words, globally, the more you actually know the more likely you are to accept the realities of climate science; within the sciences, the smarter you are the more likely you are to understand the realities of global warming.

This explains a lot of what we see in Twitter and other social media. Just sayin.

I refer you again to Dana's post for a more detailed discussion of the paper.

More like this

"…low quality research which tends to not pass mustard…"

Shame on you! Your English doesn't pass muster. It doesn't even cut the mustard.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 07 Jun 2014 #permalink

That is what i needed to read this morning :-D

By Justin Marable (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

Not the 97% idiocy again!!!!!

Please, stop making a fool of yourselves. Please. Please.

By corrector (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink


By Jimmy Senkov (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

“Please, stop making a fool of yourselves.”

A fool of yourself or fools of yourselves. Corrector is so simple-minded that s/he can't distinguish between singular and plural. Strike one.

“Not the 97% idiocy again!!!!!”

Note the unnecessary use of additional exclamation marks. Climate change septics tend to believe that the exaggerated use of capital letters, asterisks, quotation marks and other kinds of punctuation can replace logical argumentation. They can't. Strike two.

In the course of one short sentence followed by a short exclamatory phrase, corrector has revealed him/herself to be an illiterate ass. In a risible manifestation of the Dunning-Kruger effect, s/he calls her/himself corrector.
Strike three.

For a revealing look at corrector's 97% idiocy see:…

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

"that the exaggerated use of...and other kinds of punctuation can replace logical argumentation. It [not they] can't.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

cosmicomics you are just a pile of shit.

Now shut the hell up.

By corrector (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

cosmicomics you are a reject.

By corrector (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

cosmicomics you are a failure a human being.

By corrector (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

cosmicomics is the typical bran damaged IPCC fanboy.

Strike three: you are an idiot and a failure a human being, comicssomething.

By anazaeefezf (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

The warmist are so fucking retarded it's actually funny.

Greg, you are a failure.

I don't understand who people can be so f... stupid.

You are like my lame teachers at the university, the ones I used to humiliate.

When rational argumentation is beyond them, climate septics are left with infantile name calling. These are the same persons who believe themselves to be more knowledgeable and more capable than climate scientists.

Here's more:

“cosmicomics is the typical bran damaged IPCC fanboy.” – c

That sentence is probably the longest and most intricate c has ever written, so it's no wonder s/he didn't catch her/his mistake.

“cosmicomics you are a failure a human being.” – corrector

That, of course, should be: a failure as a human being.

Then we have anazaeefezf, who, inspired by corrector's ignorance (monkey see monkey do), copies his/her mistake:

“Strike three: you are an idiot and a failure a human being, comicssomething.”

Thinking has never been a septic strongpoint.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

Your parents were university teachers and you are still a dimwit?

By ahurrdurrdurr (not verified) on 08 Jun 2014 #permalink

The level of ineptitude, the almost identical way in which that ineptitude is expressed, and the unimaginatively similar internet identities – anazaeefezf, ezezezeg, dfbvdhtrfjrt, ahurrdurrdurr – lead me to believe that we're dealing with corrector and his/her chorus of sock puppets. So corrector is not only, as documented, an illiterate ass. S/he is also fundamentally dishonest.

In itself, this would not be worth commenting on, but it does say something about the validity of ACC denial and the quality of ACC septics.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 09 Jun 2014 #permalink

Greg Laden, you are pathetic.

By ezezezeg (not verified) on 09 Jun 2014 #permalink

In reply to by cosmicomics (not verified)

Cosmicomics: I can see the IP addresses and verify that they are all the same. There is also a common pattern to the fake email addresses used. He was using TOR but it did not vary the IP addresses.

Normally I'd delete this trash, not allow it on the site, but every now and then I like to allow the comments by the crazies to be visible so people can get a feel for what is not normally allowed but is often posted from the climate science deniailst community.


By cosmicomics (not verified) on 09 Jun 2014 #permalink

Actually I'm not the other guy, I just made fun of him.

By ahurrdurrdurr (not verified) on 09 Jun 2014 #permalink

Real scientist are laughing at you.


By corrector (not verified) on 09 Jun 2014 #permalink

Real scientist are laughing at you.


Greg, thank you for the post, and for the object lesson provided by your forbearance in not eliminating the 'comments by the crazies'. Those comments add weight to the conclusions of the article and your post. They certainly can only be judged as of 'lower expertise and prestige' than the sorts of comments informed people would write.

By Matt Whealton (not verified) on 09 Jun 2014 #permalink

I'm sure corrector is totally happy with his life of hate. He can can count on more to hate as the months and years wear on.

By Richard Chapman (not verified) on 10 Jun 2014 #permalink

I hate frauds, hoaxers, con artists.

I really do.

By corrector (not verified) on 10 Jun 2014 #permalink

I hate frauds, hoaxers, con artists.

I really do.

I am swayed by the elegant way corrector argues against AGW by writing "now shut the hell up." I will have to re-evaluate my position on the topic. after all, 97% consensus isn't 100% consensus.

"97% consensus" is a tiny minority.


By corrector (not verified) on 10 Jun 2014 #permalink

In reply to by rob (not verified)

Indeed, Rob. And there's the stunning intellectual brilliance of reposting the identical message under two randomly chosen identifiers.

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 14 Jun 2014 #permalink

It is wishful thinking that 97% of climate science experts accept the fundamentals of global warming. It is more like 99.5% (or maybe even higher). I went to the American Geophysical Union in 2012, and I found that climate change denial is almost impossible to find.

By Paul Vincelli (not verified) on 22 Jun 2014 #permalink

The 3% does not consist of 100% denial, just imperfect consensus. Also, it is 97% of papers, not people, and of papers over a good number of years, and the trend is that the "3%" papers peter out over time.