Posted by on May 15, 2017

John Cook and Peter Jacobs critique a National Review article by Oren Cass that misrepresents their 2016 paper on the scientific consensus on climate change. They discuss the techniques of climate science denial, focusing on the technique of fake experts that Cass uses to cast doubt on expert agreement.


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  1. Pauld
    May 16, 2017

    I have read Cass’ original article, John Cook’s reply and then Cass’ reply to Cook. In my estimation Cass comes out as the clear winner of the exchange.

  2. Blake
    May 22, 2017

    As someone who isn’t a climate scientist but has followed this subject in detail for a couple decades this podcast seemed like an echo chamber just like most subjects when talked about between those that agree. I’m what some call a lukewarmer, something you didn’t mention. I suppose just calling everyone “deniers” and making it black and white makes it easier to build a strawman.

    Fake Experts: Non-experts produce surprisingly accurate predictions, often far better than experts. Cherry picking from non-applied science climate experts is still cherry picking. This is because experts usually tend to agree and not question so they can miss things that would be obvious to others, especially when the science isn’t actually applied to anything so the only feedback loop is that from people who agree. This is called groupthink. We are all humans and titles have little to do with understanding a subject, it just suggests a base knowledge on a subject. Trusting experts without question can lead to all kinds of terrible things.

    Logical Fallacy: Like saying Climate change is a problem and requires intervention now or the world is going to end as we know it, the science doesn’t say this (although some scientists do). Science doesn’t define policy action, it just tells you what might happen based on probabilities. It’s also a logical fallacy to say that it’s true because most scientists believe it. History shows this has been proven wrong again and again. It’s a logical fallacy to believe an arbitrary title such a scientist makes one group of people more logical when someone without such a title could have spent more time on the subject or has some useful insight that was overlooked.

    Impossible Expectations: Like predicting sea level rise and climate change multipliers that haven’t happened. Not only that, the estimates were orders of magnitude off. Look at what they expected back when Al Gore did the Inconvenient Truth using a graph using tree ring data that wasn’t collected for purposes of climate change. This is more cherry picking and impossible expectations that never materialized. CO2 could rise by 100% and the temperature would only go up by a few degrees, this is because CO2 only absorbs very little of the spectrum and water vapor and plants are not properly understood for by climate scientists leading to some impossible expectations.

    Cherry Picking: From tree ring data, heat islands, polar ice caps melting, and core samples. All of these have been used for cherry picking data to support the idea that climate change will be catastrophic. Forest growth is up to record levels yet they call the movement to stop this the “green movement”. Maybe I should call you CO2 deniers since you deny that CO2 is a benefit. I lost track how many times have I seen extreme weather used by climate scientists as proof of climate change yet when others use it to prove otherwise they claim “weather is not climate” (it’s true in both cases), this is textbook cherry picking.

    Conspiracy: in the late 1990’s there was widespread claims from scientists that we would have a runaway greenhouse effect and the sea level would rise and california would be under water. Don’t forget the polar bears are going to drown. I could go on and on with climate change conspiracy theories that have never came true or that were an outright lie.

    It would be crazy to say that humans do not contribute to climate change, it’s basic thermodynamics. I think most people believe this is true including most of the people that you would call deniers simply because they disagree with your policy decisions. By making this a political issue you make sure that you will never convince anything of anything. If scientists published their papers publically and were transparent people would take them a lot more seriously. Right now they come off like an elites that have a terrible track record predicting climate trends that they claim to know so much about.