What the Manmade Global Warming Consensus Means

There’s still a lot of buzz around the blogosphere and mainstream media about the current scientific consensus on human-induced global warming and climate change.  I thought it would interesting to get feedback on that groupthink…about what you think when you hear someone use the consensus fallacy in their arguments.

Let me start the ball rolling:

Every time I hear the word consensus in the global warming debate, it strikes me that the members of the climate science community and their advocates don’t have independent thoughts running around their individual heads.

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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22 Responses to What the Manmade Global Warming Consensus Means

  1. catweazle666 says:

    Scientific consensus = oxymoron.

    In fact, forget the “oxy” bit.

  2. Centinel2012 says:

    There is no such thing as consensus in science it is the obligation of all in any field to prove a theory wrong and if they can’t then it can be tentatively accepted — for now! This has never been the case with anthropogenic climate change! Its only the governments grant money that has kept this scam going this long!

  3. Steve Keohane says:

    Consensus has nothing to do with science. Every advance is made by an individual who refused to take the consensus perspective, period. There is no collective salvation via consensus or any other lack of sense.

  4. omanuel says:

    The manmade global warming consensus confirms the totalitarian force of world government that emerged from the CHAOS and FEAR at the end of WW-II, . . . exactly as George Orwell predicted in the book he started writing in 1946: “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/CHAOS_and_FEAR_August_1945.pdf

  5. Dennis Hlinka says:

    What about the obvious ack of independent thought here on this site? All of your contributors are speaking from the same bubble of misinformation with no signs of any independent thought.

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    [sarc on] Dennis Hlinka, glad to see you still haven’t floated away with the life-threatening sea level rise in your part of the globe. [sarc off].

    Not too oddly, Dennis, we do present the results of independent thought here. If I was mired in the groupthink quicksand, I’d be someone like you, someone who can only parrot the consensus.

    BTW: You, Dennis, must have a extremely short memory. I banned you here years ago. Remember? You’ve been whining about ever since at AccuWeather.

    Have a good day.

  7. They use the 97 % consensus as an arm twister to get the public to follow them like sheep.

  8. kuhnkat says:

    Catweazle666, it would appear their brains have been trying to run without the oxy for quite a while…

  9. Every time science reaches a consensus it is time for a science revolution.
    If not, we would still be at the center of the universe, or gravity would be an instantaneous effect that travels much faster than light.
    But this fictitious consensus does not amount to that, it is a political fad.

  10. manicbeancounter says:

    The use of a consensus of experts is akin to the prosecution is a criminal trial using, as their main grounds for prosecution, an opinion poll taken within the local police force declaring that they trust the evidence and the abilities of their fellow officers. It is hearsay evidence, and should be strongly rejected. If criminal prosecutions were based on a consensus of the experts, it would encourage corruption and sloppiness, and discourage honesty and integrity. It would undermine trust of the public in those who uphold the law, and lead to miscarriages of justice.

  11. Retired Engineer John says:

    The whole world thinks in paradigms and thinks that they know the truth because someone else agrees with them. We see this in the way that people in other cultures or countries perceive what is and is not acceptable. The climate scientists talking to each other got so sure that CO2 was going to produce a disaster that they purged from their ranks anyone that disagreed with them. This made them blind to new knowledge and caused them to get so radical that others outside the clique started noticing what they were saying. Science grows when it is questioned and paradigms are broken. We must be capable of independent thought if we are going to productive scientifically. Albert Einstein had some sayings on this subject:
    “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
    It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
    The important thing is not to stop questioning.
    When all think alike, no one thinks very much.”
    These are found on the following website:http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Albert_Einstein

  12. Proponents of dangerous man-made global warming are still trotted out the now defunct claim that there is a consensus and 95% of scientists agree that man-made carbon dioxide will or might cause potentially dangerous global warming.
    In Australian it is easy to show that this is a false claim.
    After 17-years of increasing man-made CO2 and no increase in average global surface temperature, scientists have looked again at the science of man-made global warming and many have not been impressed.
    A recent statement by the Geological Society of Australia is symptomatic of the current state of affairs in the scientific community.
    In its latest quarterly newsletter the Geological Society of Australia, our peak body of earth scientists said that it was unable to publish a position paper on climate change because there were deep divisions amongst its members.
    There is a consensus that additional man-made CO2 will most likely cause some global warming. However, there is no scientific consensus that man-made CO2 will cause potentially dangerous global warming or that we need to do anything as a matter of urgency.
    It is hardly surprising that there is deep scepticism about man-made CO2 causing dangerous global warming. Geological Scientists in particular know that all the carbon in all the gas and all the oil and all the coal buried under the ground was originally in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
    It was extracted from the atmosphere by trees and plants, which are carbon based life forms.
    During the Carboniferous epoch there was an explosion of plant life and a lot of the coal that we dig up today was growing then as trees and plants. Geological records show that before this explosion of plant growth carbon dioxide levels were over ten times what they are today.
    In the normal course of the carbon cycle trees and plants germinate, grow and suck carbon out of the atmosphere, then they die and decay and their carbon is recycled back into the atmosphere. However, sometimes the carbon cycle is interrupted, as during the Carboniferous epoch, when some of the dead plant matter didn’t decay and was instead buried and this of course reduced the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    When we burn fossil fuels we are just completing the carbon cycle that was interrupted so long ago and providing more carbon dioxide to feed more trees and plants today.
    The proposition that levels of carbon dioxide that were okay in the past will be disastrous in the future is implausible for many politicians and ordinary people, but is apparently not just credible, but a certainty for some political parties, journalists and scientists.

  13. Gary says:

    Invoking consensus strikes me as a form of herding instinct. It’s safer and reassuring to be part of a group. Additionally the instinct toward consensus may have been reinforced with learning when ostracizing was observed during the grade school years. It doesn’t take much bullying – either as victim or witness – to teach you that benefits accrue to insiders.

  14. Pamela Gray says:

    Terribly off topic but don’t know where to put this. A great paper on the state of climate models’ challenges in modeling ENSO processes. You might already have this. But if you don’t I thought it would be of interest to you.

    http://knmi.nl/publications/fulltexts/guilyardi_al_bams09.pdf

  15. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks, Pamela. It’s a great paper. Some of the challenges, though, appear to be refusals, like the modelers using too little sunlight.

  16. Pamela Gray says:

    I agree Bob. It seems that a refusal to dial back (or dial up as the case may be) on the dials is driven more by need for coinage than need for discovery.

  17. Pamela Gray says:

    With regard to your discharge/recharge proposal I think the state of research is getting closer to the time when we can take optical thickness data from cloud data, and mathematically extrapolate the extent to which the oceanic equatorial band is recharged. I can envision a three month running average energy uptake anomaly around a theoretical balanced discharge/recharge set at 0.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fearth.esa.int%2Finstruments%2Fmeris%2Fatbd%2Fatbd_2.1_2.2.pdf&ei=2-vnU6D1EYWBiwLNm4CwDQ&usg=AFQjCNERbkM33lieaJXarVcJQ7xZPH6Euw&bvm=bv.72676100,d.cGE

  18. Pamela Gray says:

    As a teacher of middle school students, I got a BIG kick out of this science investigation. Out of the mouths of babes.

    http://www.emerginginvestigators.org/2014/03/cloud-cover/

  19. There is nothing wrong with consensus as a rule of thumb guiding accepted or mainstream scientific thinking. The problem is that the original meaning of the term has been somewhat distorted in recent decades. Skeptics in general (not just climate skeptics) would traditionally refer to a scientific consensus in terms of a historical consensus. For example, evolutionary theory and relativity theory are considered mainstream in scientific thought. Rather than go through the time consuming process of discussing the complex lines of evidence involved in supporting either, a short-hand is to mention that both have attached to them a consensus of scientific thought.

    However, this is not what we have when we refer to a ‘climate consensus’. In this sense of the word, a consensus is a survey of expert opinion. What do most scientists working in this field believe to be true? The problem with a survey of expert opinion is that it is nearly the opposite of a historical consensus. A survey of expert opinion over matters that are uncertain and for which there is little solid evidence, is almost always, historically speaking, wrong. Advocates have found it useful to conflate the different meanings and have done so very successfully.

  20. Pamela Gray says:

    I don’t do consensus well at all. My position is at odds with both sides of the CO2 vs solar debate.

  21. Gosh, those scientists with their peer review and scientific consensus are stupid! It’s just groupthink. A scientific paradigm like that could never, say, land 12 men on the moon, sequence the human genome, find thousands of planets of other stars, and find treatments for diseases as diverse as AIDS, polio, and malaria.

    Oh. Wait. It did.

    [Thank you, Paul. Fitting words from a science-fiction writer. Also, thanks, you reminded me to change my settings on when to automatically close a thread to comments. I’m now using the standard 2 weeks, which has shut down this thread — Bob]

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