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The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

  1. Jun 9, 2006 #1
    There is a lot of debate going on in the media and on forums like these as to whether or not anthropogenic global warming is real.

    Here is a link to an article in the AAAS Science Magazine that states there is no disagreement between climate scientists as to the consensus, not majority or plurality, but the consensus opinion.


    Here we have the consensus of scientific opinion.
    If there is no scientific basis for denying AGW, why is there so much doubt being expressed in the media and by layman on blogs and forums?

    Where is the disinformation coming from and why?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2006 #2
    >>If there is no scientific basis for denying AGW, why is there so much doubt being expressed in the media and by layman on blogs and forums?<<

    Perhaps the only disinformation is "there is no scientific basis for denying AGW"?
  4. Jun 9, 2006 #3
    :confused: And that is a scientific observation? :rolleyes:

    If it is disinformation, then I am sure you can provide something more scientific than flippant comments.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2006
  5. Jun 9, 2006 #4
    >>If it is disinformation, then I am sure you can provide something more scientific than flippant comments.<<

    Sure. Would you accept Mr. Lindzen (Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT) as a source?

    from: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220
    I can dig up more, but so can you if you try.
  6. Jun 9, 2006 #5
    The opinion page of the Wall Street Journal?

    That is an OP-ED it does not have to be accurate or even go through a fact checking procedure.

    This just supports the OP of the thread that the media is raising doubt, not the scientific community.
  7. Jun 9, 2006 #6
    Which of the parties do you feel is lying in this case? Mr. Lindzen, or the WSJ for failing to publish the peice he wrote accurately?

    Perhaps you had better write a letter to MIT bringing this lie of Mr Lindzen's to their attention right away. I am sure MIT would have grave problems with one of their senior staff publishing lies in a major newpaper.
  8. Jun 9, 2006 #7


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    Only the first category is an "explicit" endorsement; the "implicit" endorsements of categories 2, 3 are equally easily argued to be inferences based on topics by the AAAP study authors --- the "political winds" blow research money over the fence into my study area, who am I to argue? There is NOTHING "remarkable" in the fact that no papers asserted that there is "no global warming;" that's part of the scientific method --- the possibility of constructing perpetual motion machines of the first or second kind is still formally acknowledged, or alternatively, it is a formal concession in scientific arguments that the first and second laws of thermodynamics may be violated (don't bet any money on it). So, we have some fraction, about 1/3, of AAAP's "75%" who explicitly endorse the climate change argument. We have AAAP overstating the results of the study. We have a member of a history department lecturing the scientific community and general public on what steps to take.

    Violating "formal scientific principles," there is NO CONSENSUS!!!
  9. Jun 9, 2006 #8
    I didn't say they were lying. I said it is an OP/ED. An OP/ED in a conservative newspaper. Opinion and editorial is not even true journalism, let alone science. I can write an article and get it published on an OP/ED page.

    To reiterate, it is an editorialized opinion. Not a peer reviewed scientific study.
  10. Jun 9, 2006 #9
    They may even be less than that. Consider categories 4 & 5 "methods / paleoclimate analysis". Either of those may address strong negative feedback systems similar to the "Iris Effect" described in the paper I quoted. Unless the author explicitly argued against the consensus opinion as his primary thesis in a paper, it would not necessarily be counted in that sixth category ("rejection of the consensus opinion").

    There are plenty of papers about the North American CO2 sink, although they are almost all trying to explain it away. Yet the sink still exists. It's a pretty strong argument that our understanding of the system is not perfect if North America is a net consumer of CO2.
  11. Jun 9, 2006 #10


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    Where did you post a peer reviewed scientific study? I don't see it. I see an essay.
  12. Jun 9, 2006 #11
    Rather than fall into the usual political banter, why not apply empirical principles to this question? Let's propose various "models" of disinformation, and see how well they respectively fit reality!

    I propose the following model: we are in a giant "echo-box" full of very confused people, most of which are functionally illiterate and have no concept of critical thinking. Furthermore, they do not know the scope and limitations of their reason; so they may have strong opinions on matters which they've never considered or researched - and critically, they will resist changing their worldview in light of strong evidence.

    In the model, psuedoscientific nonsense - e.g. Intelligent Design, will bounce around the walls of our "echo box" without significant dampening. In the absence of critical reasoning, ideas will compete for volume but not validity; so even thoroughly debunked ideas will remain for decades bouncing around the echo walls. Emotion will "select out" the ideas to be amplified most. Thus ideologically convenient* worldviews would be disproportionally more prevalent than inconvenient ones (*e.g., Intelligent Design; cold fusion; hafnium isomer bomb; "science" of racial/ethnic/gender superiority; global warming denial; "Star Wars" missile defence; "War on Terror...").

    My model is quite cynical, as you see. I'd love to see it refuted! :biggrin:

    (edited for clarity)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2006
  13. Jun 9, 2006 #12
    Really? Point to me an article you have had published on the editorial page of a major newspaper. It's not as simple as you seem to think, unless you are a regular columnist (e.g., Dowd, Krugman, etc.).

    Give it a whirl and get back to me.

    After you've received your hundredth rejection slip, you might consider why the WSJ (and the NYT) publish papers by people that hold senior positions like Mr. Lindzen's. He has a professional reputation to maintain. That's why people might be inclined to trust him.

    To be quite honest with you, I do tend to trust Mr. Lindzen's opinion on the working of the process a little more than yours. I don't find the lack of peer-reveiwed papers that are inherently critical of the peer reveiw process (as Mr. Lindzen's is) to be any surprise at all.
  14. Jun 9, 2006 #13
    What kind of joke is this? Editorials suddenly have scientific merit? And they're giving peer-reviewed journals a run for their money?
  15. Jun 9, 2006 #14


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    Evo, that essay was submitted to Science, which is peer-reviewed. However, that a paper is peer-reviewed does not make it infallible...hardly. What it does, nevertheless, is separate it from unreviewed stuff that gets published in newspapers and magazines.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2006
  16. Jun 9, 2006 #15


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    Yes, I know Science is peer reviewed, but it's not a scientific study, it's an essay.

    But I think we're getting off course here. I have asked an expert I met to come here to discuss this, but I don't know if he will. He's into some really fascinating stuff. I'd really like to hear his opinions.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2006
  17. Jun 9, 2006 #16
    I'm not posting to debate the topic. I'm just letting you know where the skeptism comes from since you asked.

    First, I'm sorry to say, that scientists cannot even agree that it is a consensus.


    But from a layman's perspective...

    It's because the planet has gone through warming and cooling trends and high hurricane cycles that date back long before the industrial revolution. We've been told we're going to destroy ourselves "in 10 years" for 30 years now. The unwashed masses are getting sick of it.

    The biggest "official" measure taken to correct the alleged problem seems to be the Kyoto treaty, which exemps two nations with larger burgeoning industrial growth than even the US has.

    What sets off a lot of red flags as well are the kind of people who do the most to push global warming. The political agenda behind most of these groups makes their message all that much harder to swallow.

    Add to that the reports of increased solar activity and enough contradictory reports stating that the Earth's surface is, in fact, cooling, us uneducated surfs tend to become skepitcal. Many reports also seem very clear in illustrating that natural phenomenon contribute more to greenhouse gasses than man does.

    Even one of the original key drivers of Kyoto has backed off some...

    http://www.pewclimate.org/docUploads/Climate Data new.pdf

    Two sites that science minded readers may lend some credence...



    And here are a few random articles that I found from a little digging (not easy to find by search engine standards)...






    Crush me at your leisure.
  18. Jun 9, 2006 #17
    The issue is not about science. Go reread the original comment. It is about the media bias in reporting the science. The original comment on the matter is quite clear in that regard.

    In that category of debate, I would say editorials certainly have a great deal of merit. Wouldn't you?
  19. Jun 9, 2006 #18


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    Its content however, has been assessed by peers in the field to not misrepresent the scientific knowledge in the field.

    In many scientific (at least in many physics) journals, you have what are called review articles. These rarely report any new science. They mostly review and summarize the knowledge contained within a field. They are nevertheless held to as high a standard as a paper reporting original work.

    Again, this doesn't mean that there couldn't be any errors or misrepresentations in the article, only that it isn't very likely.
  20. Jun 9, 2006 #19


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    I would agree with that. But it's an overall synopsis. It should be represented as such and not a specific study as there is no specific data here. Perhaps I am too nit picky.
  21. Jun 9, 2006 #20
    Not at all! An essay reviewing a scientific consensus is not a "scientific study" and should not be advertised as such.
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