As I noted on Twitter:
Anyone who continues to push "97%" nonsense is either pig ignorant or a lying demagogue. No other options. http://t.co/BVKTYuC3Tw
— Rand Simberg (@Rand_Simberg) September 5, 2014
Judith Curry explains:
I think we need to declare the idea of a 97% consensus among climate scientists on the issue of climate change attribution to be dead. Verheggen’s 82-90% number is more defensible, but I’ve argued that this analysis needs to be refined.
Climate science needs to be evaluated by people outside the climate community, and this is one reason why I found Kahan’s analysis to be interesting of people who scored high on the science intelligence test. And why the perspectives of scientists and engineers from other fields are important.
As I’ve argued in my paper No consensus on consensus, a manufactured consensus serves no scientific purpose and can in fact torque the science in unfortunate ways.
And José Duarte is appropriately brutal:
My fellow scientists, let’s huddle up for a minute. What are we doing? What the hell are we doing? I’m mostly speaking to climate scientists, so the “we” is presumptuous – I ask for a couple of minutes of your charity. Is this really what we want? Do we want to coarsen science this much? Do we want to establish a scientific culture where scientists must take polar positions on some issue in the field? Do we want to tout a “consensus” that ignores all those who don’t take a polar position? Do we want to import the fallacy of demanding that people prove a negative, a fallacy that we often point out on issues like evolution, creationism, religion, and so forth? Modern scientific culture has long lionized the sober, cautious scientist, and has had an aversion to polar positions, simplistic truths, and loyalty oaths. Do we mean to change that culture? Have we tired of it? Are we anti-Popper now? No one is required to be Popperian, but if we’re replacing the old man, it should be an improvement, not a step back to the Inquisition. Do we want dumb people who have no idea what they’re doing speaking for us? Are we fraud-friendly now, if it serves our talking points? When did we start having talking points?
In any case, what the hell are we doing? What exactly do we want science to be and represent? Do we want “science” to mean mockery and malice toward those who doubt a fresh and poorly documented consensus? Do we want to be featured in future textbooks, and not in a good way? When did we discover that rationality requires sworn belief in fresh theories and models that the presumed rational knower cannot himself validate? When did we discover that rationality requires belief in the rumor of a consensus of researchers in a young and dynamic field whose estimates are under constant revision, and whose predictions center on the distant future? (A rumor, operationally, since laypeople aren’t expected to engage directly with the journal articles about the consensus.) Who discovered that rationality entails these commitments, or even argued thusly? Give me some cites, please. When did we discover that people who doubt, or only mildly embrace, the rumor of a consensus of researchers in a young and dynamic field whose estimates are under constant revision, and whose predictions center on distant future developments, are “deniers”? When did science become a church? When did we abandon epistemology? Again, what are we doing?
The “consensus,” I think, is collapsing. It will be interesting to see the response when Mann’s case is finally thrown out by the appellate court. Particularly if they grant us lawyer fees.