It's not enough to bash in heads, you have to bash in minds
            

Those accepting the science of global warming have more credibility and prominence than those who remain unconvinced [UPDATED]

A study Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences confirms what people who have been paying attention already know:

97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

Furthermore, researchers with fewer than 20 climate publications comprise ≈80% the UE group, as opposed to less than 10% of the CE group. This indicates that the bulk of UE researchers on the most prominent multisignatory statements about climate change have not published extensively in the peer-reviewed climate literature.

the expertise and prominence, two integral components of overall expert credibility, of climate researchers convinced by the evidence of [anthropogenic climate change] vastly overshadows that of the climate change skeptics and contrarians.

 

This is unsurprising, and is based on the work done by Jim Prall, who has been building a list of climate authors and the number of times they have been cited.

Predictably, given that this paper shows that deniers really are on the fringe, the paper has been criticized. But those critics have missed the point, and in many cases have been so over the top that they highlight the absurdity (and lack of decency) of the deniers.

The first criticism, was that this represents an appeal to authority, and thus should be ignored. But this study not in itself an appeal to authority, it is an attempt to determine what the authoritative opinion is. The same is true of previous studies that have found that an overwhelming majority of climate scientists support the consensus position.

This study says nothing on whether or not the authoritative opinion is correct. What it does however is demonstrate that the idea that there are two viable camps within the scientific establishment is wrong.

The most important aspect of this whole effort is that now reporters have no excuse for pretending that both sides have equal weight. It is abundantly clear that they do not.

But then the deniers went completely nuts. Calling this study a black list. This is absurd because the paper itself has no list. It names no names. Anthony Watts claims “It doesn’t get much uglier than this”. Which begs the question how is this ugly? The scientists who were classified as unconvinced by the evidence all signed public statements to that effect. Are they now embarrassed by those statements? Do they not stand by what they signed?

And it gets worse. Watt’s and Morano are calling this a Stasi-esque list. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, invoking Goodwin’s law and asking if they will have to wear yellow badges to scientific conferences. [Note: I am not sure Morano ever made or linked to a Nazi reference, so I cannot take personal offence, but his comparisons to the Stasi are still disgusting.]

I take the Nazi reference personally. As someone who’s family was forced to wear yellow badges by the Nazi’s this makes me sick. Comparing a compilation of PUBLIC statements to the holocaust is disgusting.

What little respect I had for Watts is gone. He is a hypocrite, and a disgusting individual who cheapens the horrors my family (and countless others) went through at the hands of one of the most brutal regimes in the world.

Again just so everyone is abundantly clear on this, the names used in the study were PUBLIC!!!, and not published in the study!!! To find out who was counted amongst the unconvinced group one needs to go back to the original public statements. Statements that are typically published and promoted on denier sites.

One needs to first make a list before colouring it black.

Jim Prall Sums up the hypocrisy:

For Marc Morano’s [who has played a key role in spreading dis-information about this study] attempt to Swiftboat this as “Stasi-esque”: what amazing gall! He’s famous for having built a long list of climate skeptics during his term with Sen. Inhofe. Hypocrite! Why wasn’t that list “Stasi-esque?” Just because he agreed with their “side”?…

Morano publicized his list relentlessly, and listed many more names as skeptics than I have. Morano also tended to quotemine, leading to false positives where the person in question would protest their inclusion as unrepresentative of their actual views, yet Morano would refuse to take them off. He’d just point to the mined quote he had, ignoring anything the source might say about being taken out of context or trying to tell him what their actual views are.

If the fear is that someone biased against supporters of one “side” could focus their bias on people on a list, why was it okay for Morano to subject people to that risk with his list? Was Morano’s list “Stasi-esque” as well? If not, why not?

People like Watts and Morano don’t deserve respect. Their disgusting and hypocritical reactions to this study make that abundantly clear.

UPDATE: And just to further highlight the hypocrisy of Watts, he signed Tom Harris’s Climate Scientist Register, which is nothing more than a blacklist of deniers. But you know what they say: “It’s OK when deniers do it”

UPDATE 2:  Apparently Marc Morano is confused by the following:

And it gets worse. Watt’s and Morano are calling this a Stasi-esque list. And worse asking if they will have to wear yellow badges to scientific conferences.

SO I made it clearer:

And it gets worse. Watt’s and Morano are calling this a Stasi-esque list. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, invoking Goodwin’s law and asking if they will have to wear yellow badges to scientific conferences.

For the record, I spend exactly zero seconds thinking that the Stasi were part of the Nazi movement. They were not. I was complaining about both the references to the Stasi and the Nazis. They are both disgusting; the Nazi references however I take personally.

It is almost as if Morano wants to misunderstand what I said. Oh well free publicity… and the emails I get from him publishing my email address ought to be fun.

UPDATE 3:  Enter Morano’s quote mine, with meaning altering ellipses:

Embarrassing: Alarmist Dan Moutal reveals historical ignorance: ‘Watts and Morano are calling [blacklikst] a Stasi-esque listI take the Nazi reference personally’

UPDATE 4: Morano has now corrected his error in interpretation. Sort of. He doesn’t make  a correction to his incorrect claim about my historical knowledge, instead points to a clarification that states:

Oops! Alarmist attempts to slam Climate Depot for ‘Nazi’ reference — But Climate Depot did not make one — only to East German Stasi

Not one mention of his erroneous claim. And while Morano is correct that I mistakenly attributed the Nazi reference to him as well as Watts, I am not sure that only referencing the Stasi is any better. At least it isn’t personal for me. To make matters worse Morano decided to highlight my error only AFTER I had corrected it.

So  what have we learned? First that Morano wants transparency for others, not himself. And they highlighting errors after they have been acknowledged and corrected is fair game.

Nothing but political games from Morano. He is an expert at bending the truth into whatever shape suits him, and cannot be trusted.

21 Responses to Those accepting the science of global warming have more credibility and prominence than those who remain unconvinced [UPDATED]

  1. “this study not in itself an appeal to authority, it is an attempt to determine what the authoritative opinion is”

    Well, gee… thanks for clearing that up.

    Without being rude, can I ask: are you sane?

  2. Let me guess you came here, via Morano?

    Do I have to spell out the difference between something appealing to authority and something trying to asses where the authoritative opinion lies.

    The two are not at all similar even if the words authority and authoritative are.

  3. It looks like this is getting a little bit petty (the yellow badge is clearly a reference to the Final Soultion even if the Stasi were post-WW2, neither were very nice in any case). Back to the theme of the PNAS study, why accept the simple binary opposition anyways? I suspect the majority of concerned scientists actually fit into neither category for various reasons ranging from a desire to avoid an obviously polarizing problem to standard ‘scepticism’ which is not so strong as to appear on the PNAS study radar.

  4. Bruce, I think splitting the scientists into two camps (a binary opposition as you put it) is one of the problems with the study, as it removes a lot of the nuance that exists.

    But the results are so overwhelming, and they replicate previous work, that adding such nuance is not likely to significantly alter the results. Though it would be interesting.

  5. Dan,
    I have a few questions not related to the PNAS article per se but related to content of your post:

    I wonder if you were as much disgusted with Nazi references during Bush time when several MSNBC hosts compared him to Hitler right on TV? If you were , did you write to Keith Olbermann and Co or did you went your anger on your blog?

    Also, what do you think in general about liberal Jews who bemoan Nazi references and invoke Goodwin’s law, but fondly quote Marx or Lenin? Do you have problem with them?

    I trust that you are you aware that implementation of Marxist ideas led to extermination of 40 million Russians, 100 million Chinese, etc..? Was that just as horrible as holocaust or was it less horrible? If yes, then would not you agree that Marx quoting left liberals calling for totalitarian thought control are far worse than those who make Nazi references? Personally I think they are more like those who find good thing in Nazi and actually they are worse because Nazi were more like street hooligans compared with Communists.

    One of my Jewish friend came to my office and when I got a call he said, “comrade Sergey, here is a call from comrade Stalin. “ That is perfectly legitimate joke when you talk to a Russian and I was not offended. Now imagine if I were a German. Would a liberal Jew joke like this “Herr Schranke , here is a call from Hitler.” Of course it would be horrible, absolutely horrible, because Hitler killed 6 million Jews!!! On the other hand, invoking Marx, Lenin and Stalin even in positive rather than derogatory way is OK. They killed much more innocent people but it is not as much problematic. Why one should care about 40 million Russians , finally Russians are not Jews. Are you comfortable with people who use such logic?

  6. @ Sergey

    Normally I wouldn’t have published your comment because it is off topic, but today I was feeling generous.

    In regards to Nazi references by in large I find them offensive. I didn’t write about the Bush/Hitler references on MSNBC, but I wasn’t really aware of them. Bush may have been bad, but he was not in the same league as Hitler. Not even close. I did however write an article condemning comparisons of global warming to Nazis a while back, and I still stand by what I wrote.

    As for references to Marx Lenin ans Stalin, that is a little more complex… at least for the first two.

    Marx was an economic/political theorist. And while communism lead to some horrible atrocities it is not appropriate assign blame to him.

    My understanding of Russian history is not as good as it should be but my understanding is that the real atrocities in Russia were committed by Stalin, not by Lenin.

    Marx and Lenin, also have time on their side. The more time passes the more it becomes acceptable to use such references. That is why no one gets upset when Monty Python says “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition”. Time heals all wounds.

    But in general I do not make communist references, mostly because I don’t think much about communism. I see it as a failed economic model.

    There is also the aspect that Hitler was targeting people for who they were, while Stalin (again this is my understanding and may be wrong) was targeting people for what they believed. The two are obviously wrong, but I tend to think that targeting someone for what they are is worse than targeting them for what they believe.

    So yes, I don’t take as much offense to Stain references as I do to Nazi references. Like I said in my post, Nazi references are personal. Thankfully my family didn’t have to live through Stalin’s reign of terror.

  7. In spite of the 1930′s terror, there is still the matter of a debt owed by Europe to the Red Army, due to the tremendous sacrifices made way back when we were actually allies. Note that Tolbuhkin spared Vienna when military tactics dictated total destruction, unlike decisions made at Dresden and Nagasaki. I would like to think we were allies with them for good reasons. Those were times more brutal than most of us today can imagine, but enough of that.

    But about the PNAS article, respecting the Czech situation, one thing that struck me here was that Vaclav Bucha of UK Geophysics was not put into either category, although the implications of his work surely relate to climate instability in the Middle and Late Holocene and throw doubt upon any uniqueness of recent warming. I also doubt that climate historians of the Quaternary and Archaeology aspects of the AVCR and UK like Vojen Lozek and Jan Bouzek (v. important in Czech) would ever admit to anything supported by Vaclav Klaus (counter-AGW), although there line of thinking clearly places doubt on the assumption that recent warming is unusual in Holocene context (PNAS seems to focus on internet bloggers, which seems silly-why then is this in the PNAS?). Just a passing observation re. that part of the data set of which I know a bit about, but more generally, is there something like a ‘Silent Majority’ (pardon the metaphor) out there? This is my personal impression in the UK and USA too, as I work as a post-doc both in countries (and my Ph.D. work was done in Czech). It is important, however, to get a realistic assessment of climate policy regardless of personal feelings now because of the perilous situation in economy and energy in the west (we simply cannot afford major mistakes anymore). Academics have a special responsibility here, and they need to do a better job I think in serving the public, even if it means taking unpopular positions vis a vis one’s peers.

    Bruce

  8. although there line of thinking clearly places doubt on the assumption that recent warming is unusual in Holocene context

    Unusual doesn’t say anything about attributions or about the costs of warming today.

    PNAS seems to focus on internet bloggers

    It focused exclusively on scientists who have signed public statements.

    is there something like a ‘Silent Majority’ (pardon the metaphor) out there?

    Surveys of climate scientist haven’t found this silent majority. Neither have reviews of the published literature. Neither have assessment reports (even ones done by the Bush administration). If such a silent majority exists wouldn’t it have been detected?

    Certainly anyone disproving AGW (assuming the proof is valid and withstands scrutiny) would gain instant fame. Scientists are highly incentivized to overturn established knowledge.

    So no, I do not think there is a silent majority who remain unconvinced. I certainly have seen no evidence for that

    It is important, however, to get a realistic assessment of climate policy regardless of personal feelings now because of the perilous situation in economy and energy in the west (we simply cannot afford major mistakes anymore).

    And the environment… funny you forgetting to mention that.
    Anyways that is precisely why I align my views on this issue with mainstream science.

    Academics have a special responsibility here, and they need to do a better job I think in serving the public, even if it means taking unpopular positions vis a vis one’s peers.

    You seem to be alluding that there would be a large backlash against scientists who speak out against mainstream science. That is an enormous claim. And there is no evidence to back it up.

    The nice thing about Tenured scientists at Universities is that they cannot be fired for taking unpopular views like saying AGW is a sham. Lindzen is still at MIT and aside from his salary he makes a good chuck of change speaking at various events (usually sponsored in some ways by those who have most to loose if AGW is in fact something we need to deal with). Same goes for Dyson, Spencer and Christy.

    In fact aside from Dyson, none of those scientists would enjoy the prominence they do if it weren’t for their contrarily position.

    We do need a realistic assessment of the climate system, and its impacts. But claiming mainstream science is not doing that is absurd, and requires one believe many unbelievable things.

  9. In 1971, Rasool and Schneider stated in their paper published in Science Magazine:

    “It is found that even an increase by a factor of 8 in the amount of CO2, which is highly unlikely in the next several thousand years, will produce an increase in the surface temperature of less than 2 K.”

    This paper was Stephen H. Schneider’s first peer-reviewed paper.

    In 1975, Schneider and Mass published a paper in Science Magazine in which the so-called climate feedback equation was established. This equation serves in all IPCC reports and many peer-reviewed papers to calculate (1) the climate sensitivity and (2) to estimate the increase of the global surface temperature due to the net anthropogenic radiative forcing. Meanwhile, there is enough evidence that this climate feedback equation is based on inappropriate physical considerations.

    In front of this background this black list is a list of scientific honor.

    P.S.: Shortly after Hitler came to power my parents were prosecuted by the Nazis because of political reasons. I think that any reference to the Nazis is highly inappropriate.

  10. Rasool and Schneider used a very low value for climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases, about a factor of three less then we now know to be the case, which puts them right up there with Lindzen in 2009. R&S were honest enough to add a footnote:
    ————————-
    “Our computed surface temperature increase for an increase in the amount of CO., by a factor of 2 is less than one-third that of Manabe and Wetherald (11).”
    ————————

    Of course, Manabe and Wetherald were right, although Rasool and Schneider did not do such a bad job on aerosol sensitivity.

    To sum up, climate sensitivity to GHGs is much higher than R&S assumed in 1971 and the increase in GHGs is high enough to overwhelm any decrease in forcing due to aerosols.

    Always ask Kramm where he is hiding the pea.

  11. Dan,
    Thanks for your generosity. I thought that subject of the outrage caused by drawings of moral equivalences is relevant to your own post as you devoted some updates just on that subject.

    I believe that comparison of the PNAS paper list to Stasi did not originate from Watts or Morano but from a German author mentioned in PNAS list who was also on Stasi list in his earlier life. If you look at Jim Prall blog http://birdbrainscan.blogspot.com/2010/06/early-reactions-to-anderegg-et-al-in.html you will find that his (non)response to that author.
    So, if you are think that reverence to Stasi belittles suffering of those who had to live under communist you are wrong. It in fact reminds them about those time when they were prosecuted for what they think.
    If Watts and Morano got the “stasiesque” thing from reference to that original German source made on Prall’s blog, (otherwise why they would pick Stasi rather than KGB or other thing) and if Stasi reference was made by someone who was actually on Stasi list then you moral outrage about it is misplaced.

    But, I can recommend you one famous person who indeed deserves your outrage, that is Paul Krugman who famously called for Nurnberg Tribunal for climate skeptics. Are crimes of climate skeptics are as bad as crime of Nazi? If the comparasion offends you, should not you condemn Krugman? (May be you did , but I do not know?) Also, what do you make up of the word “global warming deniers” and the implicit reference on “holocaust denier?”

    Some questions related to your generous response on my post:

    I agree that it is important to differentiate why someone targets people (1) for who they are or (2) for what they think. But this factor is still secondary to severity and magnitude of the repressions. It is perfectly appropriate to assign blame to Marx as he was the architect of the idea of holocaust, it is implicit in his theory of class struggle and he expressed it directly:

    “The classes and the races too weak to master the new conditions of life must give way… They must perish in the revolutionary holocaust”
    - Karl Marx ( Marx People’s Paper, April 16, 1856, Journal of the History of Idea, 1981 )

    You say “Time heals all wounds.” Hmm…. Should time heal wound of Jews made by Nazi? Should Nazi too have time on their side as Marx and Lenin have?

  12. I am quite aware of the timeline and I am quite sure that claims of this being Stasi-esque came before Prall published that post. At least that is the impression I got from an email from Jim Prall.

    But regardless the fact that one person, who may or may not have been on a real Stasi blacklist (I have no clue who this person is or what his history is, so I am somewhat skeptical) it is still irresponsible for repeate obviously false claims.

    From Prall’s post:

    As for seeing my listings as some kind of “blacklist” – I’m quite disappointed that people are viewing it in that light; that was never my intention. I’ve only listed those whose names were already on an existing public declaration, available on the web, and I list people who signed affirmative statements as well (may we never see a day where any government would persecute members of either group for their opinions!)

    I want the media to understand who has really researched climate and who has not. Conversely, I certainly don’t want to silence or exclude anyone from civil policy debate; no one of us has all the answers on what policies we should adopt to prepare for the future, and I do want to hear from others on their views. The policy process must be democratic, even though that can be painfully slow.

    If people in the unconvinced group were so afraid of being persecuted for their opinions why would they have signed PUBLIC statements?

    The outrage here is false. That much is painfully obvious.

  13. BTW in regards to Krugman, I already answered (in a more general fashion) that point in a previous comment.

    And no the term deniers is not a implicit reference on “holocaust denier?” The onply people who make that claim are deniers who push the ‘we are persecuted meme’ hard because it fits nicely with their narrative.

    Deniers (or denialism if you prefer) exists in many forms. There are evolution deniers, HIV deniers. Even the Anti-vax people are deniers. As are 9/11 truthers, or the birthers. There are CFC deniers and Tobacco deniers as well. And At least with the last two many of those deniers have now morphed into climate deniers.

    They are deniers because they deny the evidence. There is nothing more nefarious than that. Only convenient fake umbrage. But that would exist regardless of what term they are called.

  14. “Certainly anyone disproving AGW (assuming the proof is valid and withstands scrutiny) would gain instant fame”

    This is a common logical fallacy. You can’t prove that aliens from the planet xemenor aren’t influencing climate. Failure to disprove the xemenor theory, is not evidence that it is true.

    Climate was changing long before human CO2 emmissions could have had any influence. Proving that climate can change absent human CO2 emmissions is trivial.

    The challenge is proving that CO2 is now ALSO influencing the climate. That is much more difficult.

    The reality is that we can’t explain the climate in full. Warmist’s attribute the unkown to anthropogenic influence. Realists admit we don’t know. Realist’s failure to uncover the missing influence is not evidence that warmist’s anthropogenic influence are correct.

    That doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence in support of anthropogenic warming. Just that there isn’t any to be found in my starting quote.

    I’m amazed at how often the “pro-science” crowd tosses out elementery logical fallacies.

  15. @ denier

    You are mixed up here:

    Proving that climate can change absent human CO2 emmissions is trivial.

    And there is plenty of evidence that this is possible in the paleoclimate record. But that is different from saying that human CO2 emissions do not have an effect on climate. And that is what one would need to do in order to disprove AGW.

    The challenge is proving that CO2 is now ALSO influencing the climate. That is much more difficult.

    Demonstrating the effect of anthropogenic GHG emissions is difficult, but it has been done with various attribution studies.

    The reality is that we can’t explain the climate in full. Warmist’s attribute the unkown to anthropogenic influence. Realists admit we don’t know.

    That is simply not true. Mainstream climatologists have never attributed the unknowns that remain to anything. They are unknown. As I mentioned above the anthropogenic influence on the climate has been determined by several attribution studies. AR4 chapter 9 is close to 100 pages long, and deals explicitly with this issue.

    Our picture of the climate system is complete enough and fits well with the rest of our body of knowledge that any unknowns that remain are unlikely to change the basic picture.

  16. Dan, sorry I can’t elicit your opinion about Krugman from what I see. Let me put my question to you in plain form:

    Do you approve the suggestion that climate change deniers are enemies of the planet and must stand before Nuremberg tribunal (as Krugman proposed in one of his NYT editorials ) or not?

    Do you see that this suggestion draws moral equivalence with Nazi or not? If yes, why you are not outraged with Krugman?

  17. Read this.

    As for whether or not deniers should be put on trial, that is more tricky. In most cases one cannot be brought to trial for being wrong. Even lying isn’t likely to get you in front of a judge most of the time.

    So first one would want to determine who was wrong, and who was lying. And if those lying were doing so in a position where lying is prohibited then and only then can talks of trials or financial penalties be contemplated.

    The closest parallel I can think of is what happed to Tobacco corporations.

  18. ..but I tend to think that targeting someone for what they are is worse than targeting them for what they believe.

    I completely agree with this suggestion. And now, here is the key observation on Anderegg, Prall et al: What they attempt to do is to move the discussion from the subject , that is the content of “what the deniers think” (which would normaly requre to engage in meaningful debates and prove them wrong) to the question “what the deniers are” and close the necessity for meaningful discussion by showing that deniers are… bad.

  19. The study looks at the publication records of two distinct groups of scientist, and finds that the unconvinced group is smaller in number and their publication record is less impressive. That is all.

    This is not about what they think, in any way. It is about comparing the expertise and prominence of two groups of scientists.

    I’ll repeat what I said earlier because you seem to be ignoring it:

    If people in the unconvinced group were so afraid of being persecuted for their opinions why would they have signed PUBLIC statements?

    What they believe was made clear by the scientists themselves.

    And as Gavin said over at Real Climate:

    It is completely legitimate to examine the credentials of people making public statements (on any side of any issue) – especially if they make a claim to scientific expertise. It does make a difference if medical advice is being given by a quack or the Surgeon General.

    Do you disagree? That is all this study did.

    Further comments that don’t address these basic points wont be published. You are repeating yourself, and NOT addressing my responses to you.

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