The overwhelming consensus on climate change

The climate is changing, and we are the primary cause. These are simple facts that are supported by a vast body of evidence and agreed upon by virtually all experts. Nevertheless, many people continue to think that the science isn’t “settled” and there is widespread disagreement among experts. Unfortunately, these myths have been propagated and supported by very active misinformation campaigns, so I want to take a few minutes to explain why they are incorrect. First I will explain what we mean when we say that a topic is “settled” or that there is a “consensus,” then I will demonstrate that such a consensus exists for the topic of anthropogenic climate change.

“Settled” science

 First, I need to explain what I mean by “settled science,” because there are many people who argue adamantly that science is never “settled” because it is always possible that some future discovery will overturn the current thinking. That is technically true, but it can be misleading and requires clarification.

It is true that science, by its very nature, does not provide “proof.” Rather, science shows us what is most likely true given the current evidence. So to that extent, it is true that science is never 100% “settled,” because it is always technically possible there is something we have missed. However, there is a huge difference between a technical possibility and practical doubt. For example, it is technically possible that we are wrong about smoking causing cancer. It is technically possible that all of the countless studies on smoking and cancer are wrong and smoking is actually safe or even beneficial. Further, you can even find a handful of doctors that argue that we are wrong about smoking causing cancer. Does that mean that the science isn’t “settled” or that there is serious debate on the topic? Of course not! The topic has been so well studied so many times by so many people that the odds that we are wrong are insanely low. They are so low that for all intents and purposes, we can treat them as if they are zero. The notion that smoking causes cancer is “settled” in the sense that it is supported by such a massive and consistent body of evidence that it is extraordinarily unlikely that it is wrong, and we must act as if it is correct until such time as compelling evidence arises to the contrary.

This is true for a very large number of scientific topics. There are many things that have been so thoroughly studied that they are as close to “settled” as science can possibly come, and it does not make sense to talk about them as if there is any practical doubt. It would be absurd, for example, for a politician to say, “science is never settled, therefore we can’t really be sure that smoking causes cancer.” The link between smoking and cancer is “settled” in the sense that it is supported by such a vast body of evidence that it is extraordinarily unlikely that we are wrong about it. As I will demonstrate, the same is true for climate change.

See these posts for more information about “settled science.”

Note: please read to the end before arguing that there used to be consensus that smoking was safe. That is a myth and I deal with it below.

What is a scientific consensus?

 There are really two different levels at which we can talk about a consensus, and this can become confusing because most people are bad at specifying the level at which they are talking (I have been guilty of this myself). At one level, there is a consensus of experts. In other words, this exists when the vast majority of experts agree on something. This is what most people think of when they think of a scientific consensus, but it is not actually the best level to look at.

You see, when we say something like, “this is a fact” or “the science is settled,” we aren’t basing that on a consensus of experts, but rather a consensus of evidence (i.e., a large body of studies that all agree with and support each other). The consensus of experts is a secondary by-product of the consistent body of evidence. This is really the level we need to look at when asking questions like, “is there any serious debate on topic X.” Science is not a democracy. It is about evidence, not authority. So simply finding some people with advanced degrees who disagree with X does not mean that there is serious scientific debate about the topic. Rather, if there is serious debate, it will be reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, because people will be publishing papers presenting evidence that X is not correct. So that is really the level we should focus on when we talk about a scientific consensus: the evidence, not the experts.

Having said that, there is value in having a consensus of experts when it comes to the general public. No one can be an expert on everything, so even though we would ideally always look for a consensus of evidence, there are many topics on which a given individual simply is not equipped to do that (this is true for everyone, myself included). So, when encountering those topics, it makes sense to look for a consensus of experts, because, on average, an expert will know more about the topic of their expertise than a layperson will, and a consensus of experts usually reflects a consensus of evidence.

I do want to pause here for a second to emphasize the “on average” bit of my last statement. On pretty much any topic, you can cherry-pick an expert who holds an extreme position. You can find doctors who think HIV doesn’t cause AIDs, immunologist who think vaccines are dangerous, etc. That does not mean that there is not a consensus of experts on those topics. You won’t find 100% agreement among experts on just about any topic. So that is not the standard by which we assess a consensus of experts. Further, the fact that you found an expert who agrees with you absolutely does not mean that your position is legitimate or scientifically valid. It is always possible to cherry-pick experts who agree with you, and it is imperative that you avoid falling into that trap. If you go to 100 doctors and all but one of them says you have cancer, you shouldn’t trust the one who disagrees and proclaim that doctors just aren’t sure about your diagnosis. It is intuitively obvious that you should listen to the 99 who said you have cancer.

See this post for the difference between deferring to experts and appealing to authority.

 See this post for more information on why you should avoid cherry-picking experts, including discussions of some of the handful of climatologists who deny anthropogenic climate change.

The consensus on climate change

 With the semantics now out of the way, let’s look at climate change. The most famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) study looking at the consensus on climate change is the Cook et al. 2013 study that produced the 97% statistic that we have no doubt all heard. This paper has been widely criticized by the good people of the internet, mostly for invalid reasons. Nevertheless, there are some issues that are worth talking about (I have talked about it at length here, so I’ll be brief).

In short, this study did not actually look at a consensus of experts, but rather looked at a consensus of evidence (studies), from which a consensus of experts (authors) was inferred. It took 11,944 papers (by 29,083 authors) and scored them based on whether or not their abstracts stated agreement, uncertainty, or disagreement with the notion that humans are causing climate change. They found that of the papers that made an explicit statement about humans causing climate change (agree, uncertain, or disagree), 97% agreed that we are causing climate change.

That seems like pretty straight forward and compelling evidence of a strong consensus of evidence, so why the hoopla over this study? It mostly comes from the large number of papers that did not explicitly express a view one way or the other. 62.5% did not express an opinion, so the 97% agreement figure comes only from the subset of papers that did express an opinion, and that fact has drawn criticism from both sides.

On one hand, climate change deniers often erroneously claim that Cook et al. “threw out” nearly two thirds of the studies, and actually only 36.9% of the papers agreed that we are causing climate change. This is a faulty argument because it tries to treat papers that did not express a view as if they expressed uncertainty or disagreement, which is clearly false. If they did not express a view, then we cannot draw any conclusions about whether or not the authors agree with anthropogenic climate change, therefore they must be removed before calculating percentages. If we translate this into a more standard survey, if you sent a survey to 10,000 people asking if they thought smoking causes cancer, and 1% said it does not, 49% said it does, and 50% didn’t respond, you would not conclude that only 49% of people think smoking causes cancer, because that would assume that the 50% who didn’t respond are all either uncertain or think that smoking does not causes cancer, which is clearly absurd. It’s the same thing with the Cook et al. study. You can’t conflate “did not express an opinion” with “does not have an opinion” or “disagrees with the consensus,” yet that is exactly what this criticism does.

Further, a lack of explicit statement is precisely what we’d expect on a topic that has reached a consensus. Most studies on vaccines, for example don’t include a statement of “vaccines are safe” in their abstract, because that is so well-established that there is no need to explicitly state it (abstracts have tight word limits). Nevertheless, by the criteria used in this study, we would relegate those studies to the “did not express a view” category, even though the authors almost certainly think that vaccines are safe. Indeed, Cook et al. actually found that the number of explicit statements decreased over time, which is exactly what we expect from a growing consensus.

This does, however, lead to the other criticism. Namely, that Cook et al. actually severely underestimated the consensus because most of the papers in the “did not express a view” category probably were by people who do actually accept anthropogenic climate change. This is actually a fair criticism (though it is often stated too forcefully and unnecessarily denigrates the work of Cook et al.). An awful lot of those studies were on the impacts of climate change, and it is quite a stretch to think that most of those authors disagree with fundamental scientific facts about climate change. Indeed, many of those papers were by authors who are known to agree with anthropogenic climate change, and some of their other papers were categorized into the “accepts the consensus” category. So, it does seem extremely likely that Cook et al. underestimated the consensus.

To solve this problem, James L Powell took a different approach. He argued (I think correctly) that if there is actually disagreement on a topic, that disagreement should be prominent in the literature. It should be easy to find papers that explicitly reject anthropogenic climate change, whereas if there is a consensus, most papers simply won’t make an explicit statement one way or the other (just as they don’t for most “settled” topics). Therefore, if we want to look for a consensus, we should simply count the number of papers that explicitly reject anthropogenic climate change. As an example, he cited 500 recent studies on plate tectonics, none of which either explicitly endorsed or rejected the theory. Based on the Cook et al. criteria, this would erroneously lead to the conclusion of no consensus, whereas based on the criteria of explicit rejection, we would correctly conclude that there is a strong consensus.

scientific consensus on global climate change, global warming

Image via Powell

When we apply this rejection criteria to the climate change literature, we find almost no studies that argue against the position that humans are causing climate change. For example, Oreskes (2004) reviewed 928 papers published between 1993 and 2003 and failed to find a single one that rejected anthropogenic climate change. Similarly, Powell has looked at this at several time points, always with the conclusion of a very strong consensus. For example, he examined 13,950 articles published from 1991 to November 2012, and only found 24 that rejected anthropogenic global warming. That’s a 99.83% agreement among studies. He later followed that up by looking at the 2,258 climate change papers published from November 2012 to December 2013. This only revealed 1 paper that rejected anthropogenic climate change (a 99.96% consensus). Admittedly, neither of those were published in peer-reviewed journals (but you are welcome to replicate his results), but a subsequent analysis of papers in 2013 to 2014 was peer-reviewed. In it, he examined 24,210 papers by 69,406 authors, and found a grand total of 5 articles published by 4 scientists that rejected the notion of anthropogenic climate change (Powell 2015). That gives us a consensus of evidence (studies) of 99.98%, and a consensus of experts of 99.99%. To put that another way, for every 1 publishing climatologist who disagrees with anthropogenic climate change, there are 9,999 who agree with it. That’s a pretty extraordinary consensus of experts.

Powell also examined the same papers used in Cook et al. 2013, only 24 of which rejected anthropogenic climate change (99.78% agreement; Powell 2016; many of these were the same papers in his non-peer-reviewed analysis). Finally, part way through last year (2019), he examined all of the studies on climate change that had been published so far that year (11,602), and not a single one rejected anthropogenic global warming (Powell 2019).

These surveys of the literature are extremely compelling evidence that a consensus has been reached and the topic is “settled.” If there was actually serious debate, if actual evidence existed discrediting anthropogenic global warming, we would see that in the literature. We would see numerous studies publishing evidence against anthropogenic climate change, but we don’t see those studies because that evidence doesn’t exist. All of the available data very clearly shows that we are causing climate change. The scientific consensus on this topic is truly overwhelming. Nevertheless, I am sure many people are preparing to fire off responses, so I want to spend the rest of this post preemptively dealing with them.

“But what about those petitions/letters where thousands of scientists said we aren’t causing climate change?”

There have been many attempts to discredit the consensus of experts by accruing lists of signatures, but if you examine those lists, their fraudulent behavior becomes apparent. Probably the most famous is the “Oregon Petition” which (depending on the source commenting on it) received signatures from 16,000, 30,000, 31,000 or 32,000 scientists. That sounds impressive, until you do even a modicum of fact checking, at which point you’ll realize that this petition is a fraud.

First, there was virtually no verification process. As a result, there were lots of fake signatures, including celebrities and fictional characters. Further, even for the signatures that were real, the only requirement was a B.Sc. in science, which hardly makes someone a scientist, and certainly doesn’t make them an expert on climate change. A huge portion of people who get undergraduate degrees in science never actually use their degrees. Further, even for those who went on to obtain additional degrees and pursue careers in science-related fields, many were experts in totally unrelated fields. For example, how does an orthopedic surgeon, veterinarian, or mechanical engineer qualify as an expert on climate change? When you cut through all the crap, you are left with only 39 people who actually have relevant degrees and expertise in climatology. That is hardly an impressive number and certainly doesn’t discredit the notion of a consensus of experts (more details here, here, and here).

A more recent attempt was a letter to the UN, supposedly signed by 500 scientists, arguing that there is no climate emergency. Once again, however, when you start looking at the signatures, most weren’t even scientists, let alone climatologists. Further, many of them had conflicts of interest, and the claims made in the letter aren’t supported by actual scientific evidence (more details here and here).

There is also another more fundamental issue with these attempts to discredit the science. Namely, they are only about the consensus of experts, not the consensus of evidence. Science is not a democracy, and even if there were hundreds of climatologists who rejected climate change, that would be irrelevant unless they actually had data to back up their position, which they don’t.

“But what about the list of 500 studies showing that climate change isn’t happening/is natural?”

Science deniers love lists of studies. I have, for example, written extensively about the lists anti-vaccers have assembled. The problem is that these lists are inevitably assembled without an actual understanding of the science, and when you look at the papers, they don’t say what the science-deniers think they say. For example, when I went through anti-vaccers’ lists of 160 studies that supposedly showed that vaccines cause autism, I found that 33 of their studies weren’t about autism, 82 weren’t about vaccines, multiple studies explicitly stated that vaccines don’t cause autism, and only 13 were actual human trials arguing that vaccines caused autism (all of which were riddled with problems). The exact same thing has been true of every list of papers I have ever been shown that supposedly discredits anthropogenic climate change. The lists are inevitably filled with papers that talk about regional trends (not global), talk about past climates (without addressing the current warming), talk about how natural climate forcing work (without discussing the current warming), etc. As with the anti-vaccine lists, nearly all of them are misrepresented, most are irrelevant, and many actually argue the opposite of what science-deniers are claiming.

“But what about the few studies that do actually argue against anthropogenic climate change?”

At this point, you might be thinking, “fine, most climatologists agree, and very few studies disagree, but there are a few studies that disagree, and in science, any position can be overthrown by new evidence, so what about those studies?” This is a fair question given two caveats: first, we always have to examine all studies in the context of the broader literature. Given that the context in this case is literally thousands of studies with numerous lines of evidence showing that we are the cause, the evidence in the dissenting studies had better be pretty good.

This brings me to the second point. We always have to critically examine studies rather than assuming that they are valid, and when we do that, we find that these studies used weak designs, shoddy statistics, and are full of problems (Benestad et al. 2016). So they do not in any way discredit the overwhelming mountain of evidence.

“But scientists are just following the ‘dogma’ of their field”

This well-worn trope argues that lots of scientists actually have evidence against anthropogenic climate change, they just don’t publish it because in science it is supposedly forbidden to go against the “dogma” of your field. This is one of those fundamental misunderstandings of science that just will not die. Science is extremely adversarial. We love to prove each other wrong. Further, every scientist who was ever considered great was great precisely because they discredited the views of their day. No one gets anywhere in science by blindly going with the “dogma” of their fields. If anyone actually had compelling evidence that we weren’t causing climate change, they would publish in a high-ranking journal and collect their Nobel Prize. No one has done that precisely because those data don’t exist.

“But scientists have been wrong before”

This is another trope that I have dealt with many times before, so I’ll be brief. First, there are few (if any) examples where modern science has been wrong about something with the same level of evidence that we have for climate change. The “evidence” that was used for things like the sun orbiting the earth is not even remotely comparable to the evidence for climate change.

Second, past mistakes do not automatically negate the evidence for climate change. If it did, then you could use it any time that you wanted to discredit any scientific study. “You think that smoking causes cancer? Well science has been wrong before, so I don’t have to accept that.” See how stupid that is? You need actual evidence to discredit climate science.

Third, this argument is inherently self-contradictory, because it is only through science that we know that previous scientists have been wrong, but based on this argument, we can’t trust science. Therefore, we have no more reason to trust the evidence that the earth moves around the sun than we do for the discredited evidence that the sun moves around the earth. In other words, if the fact that scientists have been wrong before means that we can’t trust scientific discoveries, then we can’t trust the scientific discoveries that were used to show that scientists had been wrong before. It’s a paradox.

See these posts for more details

 Also read this post before arguing that “most scientific studies are actually wrong”

“But there used to be a consensus that smoking was safe”

This is just a special case of the “science has been wrong before” argument. Further, it’s not even true. Tobacco companies certainly ran a good misinformation campaign (much as fossil fuel companies do today), but actual scientific studies have consistently shown that smoking is dangerous. Indeed, scientists suggested that smoking was dangerous way back in the early 1900’s, and essentially all of the research since then (minus a few industry-driven papers) confirmed their suspicions (you can find an overview of this history in Proctor 2012).

“But in the 70s there was a scientific consensus on global cooling”

No, there wasn’t. There was certainly media hype about this, but it was never a prominent scientific position. Indeed, there were a grand total of 7 papers on it, compared to 42 during the same time span that argued that we were causing global warming (Peterson et al. 2008).

“But scientists don’t agree about the extent to which we are causing climate change”

This is a very common tactic among science deniers: taking a minor disagreement and conflating it with a major one. There is some disagreement among analyses about exactly how much we are contributing to climate change, but they all agree that the majority of the change is being caused by us. There is no serious disagreement that we are the primary cause. If there was, this would, once again, be easy to find in the literature, but good luck finding many studies that argue that we are only playing a minor role. They are virtually non-existent.

“But….”

There are tons of other invalid counterarguments that I’m sure I’ll get assaulted with, but I have already addressed most of them in previous posts so please read them before making inane comments. Also, if you want to more information about why simply looking for papers that reject climate change is a good approach for testing a consensus, read Powell’s papers (cited at the end) as they explain things in much greater detail.

  • This post covers most common arguments and counter points.
  • This one explains the evidence that makes us so certain that the current warming is not natural and is being caused by us
  • This one goes over the evidence that climate change is already having serious consequences
  • This one debunks the absurd notion that scientists are just in it for money
  • This one talks about Cook et al. 2013 in more detail and discusses other attempts to estimate a consensus

Conclusion

In short, there is an overwhelming consensus that we are causing climate change. This consensus exists both among studies and among scientists. Indeed, recent estimates put it at over 99.9% agreement that we are causing the climate to change. Thousands of studies have confirmed that we are the cause, and virtually none argue that we aren’t. Further, the handful of contrarian studies are riddled with problems and are easily debunked. Every shred of evidence confirms that we are causing climate change, and there is no serious debate among experts.

This level of consensus is important, because it means that there is no valid reason for doubting the reality that we are causing climate change. The level of consistent evidence for it is on par with the evidence for things like smoking causing cancer. Both topics have been extremely thoroughly studied, both topics have a huge and remarkably consistent body of evidence (i.e., a consensus of evidence), and for both topics, that body of evidence has resulted in a nearly unanimous consensus among relevant experts. Nevertheless, on both topics, it is possible to cherry-pick studies and experts that disagree with the consensus, but doing so is folly! As I explained, it is always best to look at the evidence itself, but for most people, that’s not possible, in which case it is rational to simply listen to experts, but why would you choose to listen to the 0.01% of experts who disagree with the consensus? You wouldn’t do that on a topic like smoking causing cancer, so why would you do that with climate change? If 9,999 doctors diagnosed you with cancer and told you to immediately start treatment, but 1 doctor told you that you had nothing to worry about, would you blindly follow that one doctor? I highly doubt it, so why would you do that with climate change? Why would you listen to the 1 scientist saying we aren’t causing it rather than the 9,999 who are saying that we are causing it and need to change our actions?

Related posts 

 Literature Cited

  • Benestad et al. 2016. Learning from mistakes in climate research. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 126:699–703.
  • Cook et al. 2013. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters 8:024024
  • Oreskes. 2004. The scientific consensus on climate change. Science 306: 1686.
  • Peterson et al. 2008. The myth of the 1970s global cooling scientific consensus. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 89:1325–1337.
  • Powell 2015. Climate scientists virtually unanimous: Anthropogenic global warming is true. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 35:121-124.
  • Powell 2016. The consensus on anthropogenic global warming matters. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 36:157-163.
  • Powell 2019. Scientists reach 100% consensus on anthropogenic global warming. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
  • Proctor 2012. The history of the discovery of the cigarette-lung cancer link: evidentiary traditions, corporate denial, global toll. Tobacco Control 21: 87-91
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to The overwhelming consensus on climate change

  1. Kelly says:

    Brilliantly written, Thank you 😊

    Like

  2. Mark says:

    1350+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarmism.

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html?m=1

    400 Scientific Papers Published In 2017 Support A Skeptical Position On Climate Alarm.
    (…)
    In 2016 there were 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in scholarly journals challenging “consensus” climate science. This amounts to more than 900 papers in less than 2 years.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/10/25/so-far-this-year-400-scientific-papers-debunk-climate-change-alarm/

    Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      These are precisely the types of lists I was referring to, and they fail for all the reasons I have already stated (i.e., when you start looking closely at them, there are an awful lot of papers on region effects [not global], past climate changes that were driven by factors that are irrelevant for the current warming, etc.). Additionally, there are several other factors that I did not discuss initially for sake of brevity, but since you brought the lists up, I’ll quickly point them out.

      First, these lists contain multiple papers that are quite old, so they hardly reflect the current state of knowledge (as I said, the consensus has grown over time).

      Second, there are certain prominent climate change deniers who show up repeatedly in the author lists. This is important both because it suggests a few outliers rather than a lack of consensus and because many of them (e.g., Soon) are well-known for receiving money from fossil fuel companies. Does that automatically make them wrong? No, but it does mean we should be skeptical.

      Third, many of these are not actual studies (i.e., presenting research), but are instead opinion papers or biased non-systematic reviews. This is a very common occurrence in anti-vaccer lists as well.

      Fourth, having said all of that, even once you throw out all the irrelevant papers and really old papers I will acknowledge that there are more papers arguing against anthropocentric climate change in those lists than in Powell’s work, and there is a very important reason for this. Namely, Powell assembled his papers via systematic (non-biased) searches of major academic databases. These databases do not archive every single journal, because there are tons of really low quality journals out there. Thus, Powell’s assessment shows what is going on in the dominant literature where major findings get published. In contrast, these lists have a tenancy to dredge low-quality (even predatory) journals, often finding papers that would be unlikely to pass peer-review for a major journal. That’s not to say that there are no high-impact papers in the lists, but rather that the numbers in these lists are majorly over-inflated due to a lack of quality control. If there was actually serious debate, if actual good evidence existed, we would see it in the major journals surveyed in assessments like Powell’s, but we don’t see that because those data don’t exist.

      Things brings me to the final and most important point, when you actually start looking at those papers, they are filled with problems, and they have been refuted countless times by numerous higher-quality studies.

      Like

      • Mel says:

        A while back, you wrote about the hierarchy of evidence (thelogicofscience.com/2016/01/12/the-hierarchy-of-evidence-is-the-studys-design-robust/), including the helpful “pyramid” graphic.

        That hierarchy seems to be geared mostly towards ranking evidence in biomedical research. What does the hierarchy of evidence look like in climate science – or is there a version of “case study” or “cohort study” that applies in earth science as well?

        Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          It’s not as clear for a field like climatology because most studies don’t fall into those nice categories. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews still hold the top position, but below that, it becomes really difficult to categorize studies into a hierarchy. As a general rule, I’d argue that studies presenting actual observational data (e.g., known temperature measurements) are more compelling, but again, it’s just not as clear-cut as it is for something like medical research.

          Like

  3. vuurklip says:

    “… and we are the primary cause …”

    Yeah, right. We also caused the last several ice ages and interglacials. It’s logical.

    Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      The scientific evidence is extremely clear on this topic. We literally have satellites that have measured out CO2 trapping excess heat
      https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/06/06/global-warming-isnt-natural-and-heres-how-we-know/

      Like

      • vuurklip says:

        This does not address my comment.I had nothing to say about CO2. But given the history of the climate over millions of years, I remain skeptical about the statement that we are “the primary cause” of climate change.

        Like

        • Tony Morris says:

          The point is “we are the primary cause of the CURRENT climate change”.

          Like

          • vuurklip says:

            Yes. And that is what I am skeptical about. Why are we the “primary cause” when past major climate changes we due to non-human causes. Changes much greater than the current warming. Note, I am skeptical, I have doubt.

            Like

            • Fallacy Man says:

              But why are you “skeptical” when we literally have satellites measuring our CO2 trapping heat? That’s my point. The satellite evidence is a smoking gun.

              Climate has changed in the past, yes, but we know why those changes took place, and we know that those factors cannot explain the current warming. We have tested the natural drivers of climate change, and they don’t explain this warming, whereas our CO2 does. Further, we know from those studies of past climates that increases in natural CO2 do in fact cause climate change. The difference is that in the current situation, the CO2 is from us. Let’s put those pieces together:
              1. An increase in CO2 results in an increase in temperature (established fact)
              2. We have greatly increased the CO2 (established fact)
              3. Therefore we are causing climate change (deductive logical conclusion)

              If you are going to deny this, then (by the rules of logic) you must either show that one of my premises is flawed or show that I have committed a logically fallacy. I’d also like you to explain how it is that satellites have measured our CO2 trapping heat if our CO2 is not causing warming.

              https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/06/06/global-warming-isnt-natural-and-heres-how-we-know/

              PS skepticism is rational doubt given a lack of evidence. Denial is blindly refusing to accept the results of literally thousands of studies

              Liked by 1 person

            • vuurklip says:

              “1. An increase in CO2 results in an increase in temperature (established fact)
              2. We have greatly increased the CO2 (established fact)
              3. Therefore we are causing climate change (deductive logical conclusion)”

              I absolutely agree. However, it is matter of scale. I’m not convinced that ALL the natural causes of present and past climate changes are known and have been taken into account and that human caused climate change is the primary cause.

              Like

            • Fallacy Man says:

              A. 40% is a substantial increase
              B. Again, we know from the studies of past climate changes that increases in CO2 like this result in warming
              C. Again, we know from satellites that our CO2 is causing warming
              D. Your argument is an argument from ignorance fallacy. You can’t just assume that there is some other unknown driver out there that everyone has somehow managed to miss, especially given that, mathematically, our CO2 explains the current trends, which seems pretty odd if it is actually not our CO2 but some other mechanism that is driving the warming. To put that another way, if your argument worked, we could apply that reasoning to literally any topic. You think that smoking causes cancer? Well I’m not convinced that there isn’t some other factor out there that scientists aren’t aware of yet that has caused all the tests of smoking and cancer to conclude that smoking causes it. See why that is a bad argument?

              Let me ask you a simple question, if the literally thousands of studies to date aren’t enough convincing to you, then what would be? If satellites documenting our CO2 trapping heat aren’t enough to convince you our CO2 is causing global warming, then what would convince you? You see, this is the other problem with the “some unknown mechanism” argument: if it worked, you could always use it no matter how much evidence exists. No matter how thoroughly studied a topic is, you could always cop out by suggesting some unknown (again, actually doing that is a logical fallacy for this very reason). We already have tens of thousands of studies, if that isn’t enough for you, what would be?

              Like

            • vuurklip says:

              I admit to ignorance about all the causes of climate change. However, a list of all known contributing factors to climate change and the contribution of each adding up to 100% would go a long way to dispel my skepticism.

              Like

            • vuurklip says:

              The first paragraph of your cited article does not reflect my position. I readily accept that humans affect climate. The article does address some other factors affecting climate but is by no means a complete list and their relative contributions, so I can’t add them up to get 100%. E.g. it omits numerous cycles (i.a. Dansgaard–Oeschger, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, 200 year sunspot minima, etc.)

              Like

            • Fallacy Man says:

              If you read the studies cited in the article, they go into a lot more detail. If there is still something you haven’t seen, it should be easy enough to track down on Google Scholar.

              Having said that, I don’t know that you will ever find a single graph with every single possible forcing, and there is no reason why such a graph should exist. Each of these has been tested independently, and every time the conclusion has been that they cannot explain the warming, but our greenhouse gases can. The ones that were plausible as major drivers have all been tested together (as the graphs and studies in the article show) and the conclusion was again that natural factors cannot explain more than a tiny portion of the warming, whereas the greenhouse gasses are a very good fit. Given, that our greenhouse gasses consistently explain the data, it’s absurd to continue to think that there is some other thing out there that scientists have missed, and it doesn’t make sense to waste time adding in factors that studies have shown can’t explain the data. We aren’t stupid. If you’ve thought of it as a possible explanation, the tens of thousands of climatologists in the world have thought of it as well (and examined it).

              Let me try to put this another way. Scientific analyses often focus on trying to explain the variation in the data. In the case of climate change, that variation is over time (i.e., temperatures are warmer now than in the past, thus there is variation in the temperature data), but you can explain variation in categorical variables, which are often easier to understand for illustrative purposes. Let’s imagine that we have a massive group of cars of lots of different styles and designs, and we want to know why some are faster than the others (i.e., we want to explain the variation in speed). So we measure all of their speeds, then we start doing some analyses. There are lots of potential factors to explain the variation: the engine, transmission, tires, mass, etc. For sake of example, let’s say that although most of these traits have lots of variation, there are only two engine types, one of which is a very powerful engine, and one of which is a very slow engine. As a result, analyses testing the engine as a factor constantly show that it explains the vast majority of the variation (80-90%; note that there will always be some variation that is not explained simply due to chance). Analyses of the other obvious major factors (transmission, tires, etc.) never explain more than a few percentage points of the variation, and for many cars, they conflict (i.e., slow transmission but good tires). Further, when we put all of those factors together in a model, we still find that the engine is explaining 80-90% of the variation, with the remaining factors explaining increasingly small amounts, followed by several percentage points of chance variation. The conclusion from this is very obviously that the difference in engine type is the major factor, and it would be absurd for someone to say, “we’ll I’m not going to accept that until I see a graph with every single possible difference between the cars. Your graphs don’t include spark plugs, alternators, etc.” We already know that the difference in engines explains the variation including tests that involved the other obvious differences, the minor differences have been tested independently and shown to not explain the variation, and there is really good reason to think that the engine is going to be the key factor.

              It’s the same situation with climate change

              Like

        • George says:

          We have ice cores from the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps that go back over 400,000 years. From these, we have created a history of global temperatures, CO2 levels, aerosols, and dust that affect climate. In every case of rising temperatures but this one, The rise in CO2 was created by the temperature rise. This is the first time CO2 rise has preceded a warming trend. That’s just one bit of evidence.
          I also have to say that the last time global temperatures were this warm, there were no humans on Earth.

          Like

          • Fallacy Man says:

            That’s only partially true. In the past, natural cycles have caused a small amount of warming (often regional) which caused oceans to release CO2. That CO2 then drove the bulk of the warming. So CO2 was, in fact, responsible for the majority of past climate changes. See, as one example, this study https://www2.bc.edu/jeremy-shakun/Shakun%20et%20al.,%202012,%20Nature.pdf

            Further, as far as humans not being around then, that is 100% irrelevant. The fact that the climate can change naturally does not mean that it is changing naturally now. As explained previously in this thread, we literally have satellites measuring our CO2 trapping heat. Why is that not compelling.

            Like

        • James Noel says:

          We are the primary cause of the CURRENT climate change. Past climate change is well understood. Those cycles are not currently in a mode which that would explain current climate change. Greenhouse gases are well understood in how they force temperatures up. We have caused a 48% increase in 150 years above the maximum during the last 800,000 years. If you are not confident of the cause, then you obviously don’t read the peer reviewed literature.

          Like

        • Equivalent to saying that lung cancer existed before cigarettes so you don’t accept that cigarettes cause lung cancer.

          Like

  4. dolphinwrite says:

    I wrote, or responded to another writer, an article about the difficulty of proving such a case. I encouraged people to learn about the Earth, the Solar System, and Cause and Effect. In this, I was encouraging people to think for themselves. But thinking for yourself is not simply thinking, but understanding the information you are looking at. And to my “amazement,” I realized that most people do not truly think for themselves. Most people do not know how to place a gap between themselves and information. In some cases, I do not understand what is happening inside the other person’s head, but I can see the error in their thinking, the blind spots so to speak. But since I have discovered some “blind spots” in myself regarding other areas, I’ve realized we all walk this life together, and hopefully, we can share the benefits of our understanding that we all might benefit.
    Socrates had a huge influence on me, though I read his works over the years, understanding him better with experience. Simply explained, he knew he knew very little, and the more he talked with others, the more he realized this. But the oracle told him he was the wisest. What he learned in his search for someone wiser was that, though many knew subjects better than he, what they lacked was humility. In their thinking they knew something, pride created blind spots. So he questioned them. The problem was, when he questioned them, including the experts, he showed them their blind spots. And this irritated them to no end. And because the youth were becoming more aware of these blind spots, the older people had to get rid of him. Yes, some people will attempt to destroy you if you see through them, even the errors in their thinking, though you are attempting to speak clearly. Even though you are attempting to engage in thoughtful discussions. All too-many people don’t want thoughtful deliberation. They don’t want to be seen as everyday.
    The world is incredibly complex, not to mention the solar system that surrounds and affects, the sun and Earth going through cycles which has much more to do with temperature changes and cannot be calculated with what we know today. I explained to a friend that in order to truly demonstrate man-made temperature changes, you would need several planet Earths, trying this and that, to see what effects different elements have, and this would probably be thousands of years in idea, observations, testing, hypotheses, more testing, eventually theory, and maybe in thousands of years more, having a possible realization that comes close to fact. Yet, we must also remember, the Earth has an incredible ability to adapt. Warmer (It’s not.)? We don’t really know if warmer is not good. If the Earth did get warmer, then more plants would grow, more oxygen would be put out, and this would balance out the CO2. Everything we do, the Earth knows how to correct. Yes, we can harm animals. Yes, we can cause environmental problems. Yes, we can ruin the groundwater, which might require a long time before becoming drinkable. But that’s on a local level. Do you know that if we placed all the nuclear waste together, they would all fit in an auditorium? All the Earth’s population would fit on Maui.
    When I was young, we learned the scientific method. I encourage those interested to look and learn about this concept. It’s very revealing.
    I explained to this friend, if we place millions of incredibly accurate thermometers (accurate to a millionth of a degree) under the ocean, at various depths, on lands everywhere (accounting for man-made changes as cities and stuff), in the sky at various levels (accounting for air traffic and other man-made events), in the dirt at various levels, then with time, we might have some understanding. We would probably get more questions than anything else. However, we would have a more accurate understanding on the way to seeing more issues. But the science would be fascinating.
    How accurate are our thermometers? How much hasn’t been accounted for? What were we doing a thousand years ago that brings to us trusted data more so then the general? And how much do we understand the intricacies of effects much less the interactions? How detailed is the study?
    Using the scientific method, we did a study. We wanted to know whether a certain plant did better in the sun, or if the sun was the reason for the plant’s growth and vibrancy. So we looked for these plants in a variety of locations. You know what we found? Usually, the plant did better in the sun, but in one location, where it was more so in the shade, it did very well. Why? We wondered. So we tested. And tested. And tested. In various soils. In various locations. And detailed. And with time, we believed the sun was a big factor, but other factors can differentiate the possibilities. And that was just one plant. And we still had questions.
    So, people are going to listen to YouTube, read magazine articles, and read things like the science is settled. When I was young and I heard things like “experts know,” I wondered who these experts were, who crowned them experts, and what was the qualification for being an expert? A real expert will disclose all information, questions, doubts, and how certain conclusions were arrived. And I seriously doubt that with something as complex as a planet can anyone truly have nearly enough information to show a corollary. But I encourage the investigations and exploration. Science is fascinating. But what should happen is the more we learn, the more we discover, and the more there is to learn, which will probably go on forever. But it’s amazing. Has anyone ever wondered, if the universe is expanding, into what is it expanding if anything? Could there be solar systems as small as an atom? That goes into fractals.
    My hopes are, those who read this, to start thinking for yourself. Be willing to charge down the rabbit trail of inquisitiveness. If you like science, study this topic among others. Wonder. Watch. Learn. And don’t be afraid not to have the answers. As of this writing, I have yet to read a report that demonstrates anything close to real understanding though I find some of the readings interesting and eye-opening, revealing more questions to be addressed

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fallacy Man says:

      There are many problems with this comment. I do not have time to address all of them, but I will hit some highlights.

      “I explained to a friend that in order to truly demonstrate man-made temperature changes, you would need several planet Earths, trying this and that, to see what effects different elements have”
      This is a very common, but very incorrect, understanding of science. Scientists have lots of tools available to them other than this sort of manipulative experiment. Indeed, for many fields of research, such manipulations are impossible. That does not mean that they do not give reliable answers. For example, in the case of climate change, we know that the increase in CO2 is from us (via isotope ratios), we know that increasing CO2 causes more heat to be trapped (due to countless laboratory experiments and studies of past climate), and we have satellites that have actually measured our CO2 trapping excess heat. This is very conclusive evidence that we are causing the planet to warm.
      https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/06/06/global-warming-isnt-natural-and-heres-how-we-know/
      https://thelogicofscience.com/2018/03/06/over-reliance-on-placebo-controlled-trials/

      “We don’t really know if warmer is not good. ” This is completely untrue. We very much know that it is bad. We are already seeing increased droughts in some areas, increased floods in others, increased wildfires, increased intensity, frequency, and duration of heat waves, increased hurricane intensity, etc. Thousands of people have already died as a direct result of climate change. Further, that is just the human effects, tons of studies have documented negative effects on wildlife and ecosystems (coral bleaching comes prominently to mind).
      https://thelogicofscience.com/2018/09/17/extreme-weather-the-effects-of-climate-change-are-already-here/

      “If the Earth did get warmer, then more plants would grow, more oxygen would be put out, and this would balance out the CO2.” This is problematic in a number of ways. Most obviously, clearly the plants cannot keep up, because the CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by roughly 40%. Nature was in balance before, and now it is not. We know that your argument is wrong, because the CO2 is increasing. Further, as far as it being good for plants, temperature and CO2 are only part of the equation. Other factors like water are also key, and in many cases, climate change is making those worse.

      “Everything we do, the Earth knows how to correct. ” No. The earth is nothing more than a physical system that responds to inputs. It is not designed for us, it’s not trying to reach a balance that we like, etc. There is utterly no reason to think that it can magically compensate for our alterations to the atmosphere. Further, past climate changes have shown that increases in CO2 do in fact result in very large changes in the temperature.

      “A real expert will disclose all information, questions, doubts, and how certain conclusions were arrived” actually read the scientific literature. Scientists constantly report uncertainties, possible sources of error, limitations, etc. Further, we all then critique each others work and look for problems.

      Here’s the thing. Asking questions is good, even encouraged, but you have to use good sources, and you have to actually accept the answers to the questions. Asking a question like, “will warming actually be a problem?” is fine, given that you are willing to actually look at the evidence and accept the answer that thousands of studies have clearly showed that it is, in fact, a huge problem. As I often say on this blog, scientists aren’t stupid. If you’ve come up with a question, problem, limitation, etc. there is a really good bet that the tens of thousands of people who spend their lives studying this topic have also thought of that and tested it. Again, questions are fine, but what’s not fine is ignoring the answers to those questions or pretending that they haven’t been answered.
      https://thelogicofscience.com/2017/04/03/scientists-arent-stupid-and-science-deniers-are-arrogant/

      Like

  5. philosophami says:

    Awesome post. Incredibly thorough. You are doing an important service to the people of the intertubes. We thank you.

    Like

  6. Murray says:

    2 questions

    How many of those consensus studies asked anything more than

    1: is the climate warming?

    &

    2: are humans contributing to the warming”?

    I don’t know anyone who disagrees with those points so I would guess the consensus should be 100%. What are they saying the “skeptics” are disagreeing with?

    2nd question

    The article says “when we say something like, “this is a fact” or “the science is settled,” we aren’t basing that on a consensus of experts, but rather a consensus of evidence (i.e., a large body of studies that all agree with and support each other)”

    Great, let me take one topic of recent interest – droughts.

    What is the settled science (or consensus of evidence) on droughts?

    Does man made climate change make droughts more severe?

    Skeptical science says it does
    In facts after recognising the “(IPCC) in 2013 concluded that there was low confidence (pdf) that any significant trends in drought could be detected or attributed to climate change”,

    they then claimed:

    “Since then, however, the science of detection and attribution – concerned with identifying changes in the climate system and their causes – has advanced considerably.”

    Without providing any thinks to support these claims they then said

    “These studies, using climate models, the observational record and palaeoclimate information, have clearly demonstrated that climate change has played a role in recent droughts.”

    Ok, so skeptical science now says the consensus is clear. That Climate change has made drought worse. Even though the IPCC say they have low confidence in any trend

    Dr Andy Pitman recently told a different story
    (if you don’t know who Dr Pitmann is look here
    https://www.ccrc.unsw.edu.au/ccrc-team/academic-research/andy-pitman )

    He said on the 19 June, 2019, at the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI), University of Sydney, so I imagine it already takes into account the advancements in science referred to by Skeptical Science. He says:

    ““…this may not be what you expect to hear. but as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought.

    That may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented, but there is no reason a priori why climate change should made the landscape more arid.

    If you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last one hundred years there’s no trend in data. There is no drying trend. There’s been a trend in the last twenty years, but there’s been no trend in the last hundred years, and that’s an expression on how variable Australian rainfall climate is.

    There are in some regions but not in other regions.

    So the fundamental problem we have is that we don’t understand what causes droughts.

    Much more interesting, We don’t know what stops a drought. We know it’s rain, but we don’t know what lines up to create drought breaking rains.”

    So what am I to believe?

    Is the science settled?

    Do 99% of climate scientists believe droughts are made worse by climate change?

    Or do 99% of climate scientists say as far we know there is no link between climate change and drought?

    It’s a pretty central topic for a settled science to have a consensus on.

    Now for transparency, after realising what a mess this statement made for the “consensus”, Prof Pitman did say he left out one word. He meant to say there was “no direct link”.

    Nice to minimise the damage. He wants us to believe that there is a clear indirect link, even though

    “ we don’t understand what causes droughts.”

    “we don’t know what stops a drought”.

    “there is no (direct) link between climate change and drought.”

    “there is no reason a priori why climate change should made the landscape more arid.”

    ”there’s no trend in data”

    “There is no drying trend”

    “no trend in the last hundred years“

    and the IPCC has low confidence in any trend in droughts

    Yet… There is a CLEAR indirect link between climate change and drought through rainfall patterns

    How well do we understand rainfall patterns? Back in late December our BOM was telling the government that there was “no relief for drought ravaged regions over the summer… there would be no significant rain until at least April”. It doesn’t seem we have any ability to really predict rain, so how is there a clear indirect link between Climate change and drought via rainfall?

    In one of Prof Pitmans power point slides he says “Recent thinking is that Australia is “by default” in drought, broken by major rainfall events”.

    can someone please explain to me what the settled science consensus is on droughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      First, in response to your original question of, “How many of those consensus studies asked anything more than
      1: is the climate warming?
      &
      2: are humans contributing to the warming”?
      I don’t know anyone who disagrees with those points so I would guess the consensus should be 100%. What are they saying the ‘skeptics’ are disagreeing with?”

      The studies I cited were looking specifically for agreement with humans causing climate change. Trying to drill down deeper than that quickly becomes very difficult. Nevertheless, agreement on that point is important because there are many who deny that the climate is changing or that we are the primary cause (got to the facebook page for this blog if you want some fine examples). Very few actual scientists disagree (as demonstrated by the papers) but there are a few.

      As far as drought, it’s complicated and there are a lot of things to note. First, some of the statements (like the IPCC statement of low confidence) are looking for global patterns, which can become tricky because models don’t predict that every area will experience more droughts. In fact, they predict that many areas will become wetter. What is predicted to happen where is really complicated, but as a general rule, areas that are usually wet are expected to become wetter and areas that are usually dry are expected to become drier. That difference in outcomes can make it really difficult to detect trends over broad areas, however.

      Having said that, a growing body of studies is detecting increased droughts in some areas, (e.g., https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/112/13/3931.full.pdf), but the patterns can be quite challenging to detect. Part of this has to do with the nature of droughts: they are variable. One of the fundamental concepts in statistics is that the more variable the data are, the harder it is to detect patterns and the large the sample size you need. What this basically means is that it is very possible for climate change to have an effect that we can’t confidently identify.

      This brings me to another point. You mentioned that trends are only apparent for the last 20 years, not the last 100. That is actually not surprising, because the past few decades have been when the bulk of the warming occurred, which would result in the type of more dramatic change that we could potentially pick out from the background.

      So what does this actually means as far as a consensus on drought? It’s complicated. There is a consensus that the planet is warming (and we are causing it), and there is a consensus that some areas will become drier as a result. Based on the models and our understanding of the climate, it is very likely that this is already occurring, but droughts are complicated, and we do not currently have a lot of direct evidence that droughts have already gotten worse, because it is a hard thing to measure, which I suspect is what Pitman was trying to get at.

      This piece may also be of interest to you
      http://theconversation.com/the-science-of-drought-is-complex-but-the-message-on-climate-change-is-clear-125941

      Like

  7. Bob Vislocky says:

    Nice article, however I think it’s incomplete on an important point. Many skeptics fully concede that human activity is warming the planet, so their skepticism is in other critical areas that articles which promulgate scientific consensus on climate fail to address.

    Climate change is a big field with dozens, if not hundreds of sub-topics. Not everything under the climate change umbrella is settled science. As of right now, there is no 99% scientific consensus on the following important issues:
    – whether tornadoes & hurricanes are worsening
    – whether drought & floods are worsening
    – whether the warming will reduce global crop yields causing famine
    – the optimal average temperature of the earth
    – whether the warming will be catastrophic
    – whether the warming will increase net extinction rates
    – how to reduce CO2 emissions without causing severe socioeconomic problems or creating other environmental issues.

    Skeptics are also highly critical of apocalyptic predictions made by those in the climate field who have zero practical forecast experience and haven’t had their past predictions objectively verified. Numerous dire climate/environmental predictions have been made over the past decades almost all of which have failed (google failed climate predictions), and now we are told that another 0.5* C of temperature rise will pass us through irreversible tipping points. Sorry but I don’t think it would be the least bit irrational to view such predictions with a good deal of skepticism. With 150 years of global warming in the books it would be difficult to argue that we are worse off today than in 1870 because of it.

    Disclaimer … I receive no funding in any way from the fossil fuel industry, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      Parts of this are true, but much of it is misleading.

      Take hurricanes, for example. There is substantial evidence of increased hurricane activity in the Atlantic. This is a consensus position (the IPCC rates it as “virtually certain”). Globally, there is growing evidence that it is already occurring, and there is strong agreement that it will occur even if it has not yet.

      I’m not going to go through these point by point, because it will just take too long, but there is a consensus that the net effect of climate change is going to be very damaging. There is a consensus that heat waves are increasing, there is a consensus that the sea level is rising, etc. “Catastrophic” is a subjective term. Do you, for example, consider the 2003 heat wave in Europe that killed over 70,000 people and has been linked with a high probability to climate change to be a catastrophe? I tend to say, “yes,” but maybe your standard is a higher death toll.

      This brings me to my next point. The consensus predictions (i.e., the ones in the major models used by groups like the IPCC) have actually been very accurate. There is a lot of misinformation out there about this, but when you look at the actual scientific analyses, they have been very accurate. See the sources here https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/10/17/25-myths-and-bad-arguments-about-climate-change/#Bad%20Argument/Myth%20#5

      This brings me to my final point. Is there some disagreement the details of what is going to happen? Sure. That’s going to be the case anytime we are trying to predict something, but there is no disagreement about the fact that we are already seeing negative consequences or the fact that this will be very damaging in terms of human life, the environment, and the economy. Read the IPCC reports as a start. So suggesting that we shouldn’t treat this like a very serious problem because of uncertainty about details makes absolutely no sense.

      See this post for more details about the problems we are already seeing https://thelogicofscience.com/2018/09/17/extreme-weather-the-effects-of-climate-change-are-already-here/

      Like

      • Bob Vislocky says:

        Using the 2003 heat wave as an example of catastrophic climate change I feel is erroneous for a couple reasons. First, I’m sure a large number of people would have died anyway without the 1-2* of added temperature that global warming contributed. That is, only a small portion of the +15-20* temperature anomaly can be blamed on climate change (most was due to something called weather … and a lot of bad luck). If the temperature lingered at 102* for 8 days instead of 104* surely the death toll would still have been very high. Second, the heat-related deaths can’t be viewed in a vacuum without also looking at the cold deaths. CDC and various meta-studies show that cold kills more than heat. Global warming has a much stronger footprint in warming otherwise frigid winter weather than in making summers hotter. In fact, at many areas around the world the maximum temperatures in summer have hardly increased at all the past 100 years (eg., the US east of the Rockies). So it’s not inconceivable that global warming could decrease winter deaths more than increase summer deaths and be a net positive. Either way to show the effects of climate change it would need to be shown that the number of temperature-related deaths (both cold & hot) have been increasing over time rather than focus on individual extreme events.

        You stated that “this will be very damaging in terms of human life, the environment, and the economy”. However, I’m not seeing that in the data. We’ve already had 100+ years of global warming, yet in that time the number of climate/weather related deaths has declined by 95%, the rate of species going extinct has declined according to IUCN’s Red List, and crop yields continue to increase according to the USDA & FAO. So unlike the consensus on global warming where the actual observed temperature & CO2 data is in lock-step with the consensus, the observational data that global warming is/will be damaging or catastrophic is lacking. In terms of the economy has it been considered the damage that would happen if fossil fuels were eliminated without a viable alternative? And finally, doesn’t wind & solar have their own environmental issues including having to clear cut land & destroying habitats? Unless new technology comes along I’m not sure there’s a free lunch.

        Regarding hurricanes, yes the IPCC said that “it is virtually certain that the frequency of intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic has increased since the 1970s”. However, that’s cherry picking over a small time period. Immediately before that in the executive summary the IPCC also states in bold print that “confidence remains low for long-term (centennial) changes in tropical cyclone activity”. Moreover, actual observations of landfalling hurricanes show no increase in frequency or strength since 1900. Other datasets that use all hurricanes may show an increase but those are biased because coverage over open waters of non-landfalling hurricanes has improved dramatically over the past 50-100 years. Recently a dozen hurricane experts published an article in the October 2019 edition of BAMS and noted that “Opinion on the author team was divided on whether any observed Tropical Cyclone changes demonstrate discernible anthropogenic influence”. In a December 2019 report on Global Warming & Hurricanes, NOAA/GFDL concluded the following in bold print: “the historical Atlantic hurricane frequency record does not provide compelling evidence for a substantial greenhouse warming-induced long-term increase.” So this really doesn’t look like much of a scientific consensus.

        Regarding predictions, I wasn’t referring to climate model temperature forecasts. I was referring to the apocalyptic predictions (eg., we have XX years to act or else, if it warms another 0.5* we pass irreversable tipping points, famine/extinction by 2050, etc..). Here is a good example of one that failed miserably:
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2004/feb/22/usnews.theobserver
        There is no consensus on this stuff yet many politicians and activists try to equate the 97% consensus on climate change as support for these wild predictions which is fallacious.

        I understand you couldn’t go through all the bullets point by point in my original post, but I appreciate the time you took in giving your response.

        Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          There are once again a lot of things to unpack, so I apologize if I don’t get to all of them.

          There are several very important points that need to be clarified. First, when looking at things like climate change related deaths, it is not as simple as merely showing, “that the number of temperature-related deaths (both cold & hot) have been increasing over time.” This is also true for things agriculture. The reason for this is simply technology. Heat-related deaths have gone down over time simply because more people have access to things like air conditioning. So just looking at total numbers doesn’t tell the whole picture, because it is possible for climate change to be causing unnecessary deaths, at the same time that the total death toll is going down. That doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t a problem. By way of analogy, imagine that the smoking rate in a population increased over time, but during that same time new cancer treatments were developed and as a result, the total lung cancer mortality rate went down. Would that mean that smoking isn’t a problem? Obviously not, because the mortality rates would still be much lower without smoking.

          Second, when looking for patterns, we need to remember that many of these patterns are inherently difficult to detect because they are relatively rare events with high variation. This makes them hard to detect even when they are happening, and it often takes many years of data.

          Third, following that point, we are still fairly early into climate change. We are still at a stage where it is not surprising if we have trouble detecting trends with an extremely high degree of confidence, but that doesn’t mean we should just assume that everything is fine.

          Having said all of that, we are already seeing many changes. If you look at the link I shared in the previous comment, I cited multiple papers documenting such trends. Similarly, I was just using the 2003 heatwave as an example, but there are lots of examples like that where scientists have examined the situation and concluded that it is statistically very likely that climate change caused or at least exacerbated the situation. Every year, more examples are getting added to the list. So there is lot’s of evidence that climate change is already having serious negative impacts.

          As far as a reduction in cold-related deaths compensating for other forms of death, there are a lot of points to be made here. First, climate change is largely exacerbating extremes, which means that we will still have lots of extreme and deadly cold fronts, even if the winters are warmer on average. Second, many warm areas of the planet are expected to be disproportionately affected. Scientists used a massive data set to model this out, and the result was that the increase in heat-related deaths will outpace the reduction in cold related deaths. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2542519617301560

          While we are talking about models, I wasn’t just talking about temperatures. I was talking about models for sea level, precipitation patterns, increased wildfires, hurricane intensity, etc.

          As far as the example you cited of failed predictions, there are several things to note. First, that was not one of the consensus models. It was not even conducted by climatologists. So using that to argue that the models the IPCC are using are unreliable is invalid. I fully admit that many non-scientists and even some fringe scientists have made un-merited predictions, but, as I said, the major models that scientists widely agree on have been very accurate. Second, although I have not been able to get a hold of the original report, from what I have been able to find, it seems that they were tasked with predicting a worst-case scenario, not the likely scenario. This is something people get wrong with models a lot. Scientists generally don’t just predict one outcome for things like this, because what will happen depends not just on our understanding of climate change, but also on what we as humans do (i.e., do we increase emissions, decrease them, etc.). Further, within a given scenario, the models don’t give a single prediction, but rather they give a mean prediction with confidence intervals. What then often happens is that the media or people with vested interests latch onto the most extreme edge of the predictions from the most extreme scenario, but that is not even remotely an accurate way to represent the model. So, in short, the fact that a worst-case scenario didn’t come true does not mean that scientists were wrong. Again, see the studies in the link I posted that show that the models have been accurate.

          As far as endangered species, I would like to see your source that the rate of extinctions has declined. I could see it as plausible if we compare to the massive spike from decades ago when we did things like introducing rats and mongoose to islands around the world, but that doesn’t mean the conservation situation is really improving (i.e., we’ve already killed off a lot of the really rare stuff that is really easy to send to extinction). It’s also worth mentioning that there are tons of species that are only still here thanks to massive conservation efforts. So it’s not that species aren’t being threatened, rather it is that we are putting a ton of effort into making sure they don’t go from threatened to extinct. Nevertheless, as a professional conservation biologist, I assure you, we are losing the war against extinction, and more and more species get added to the endangered species list every year. There is also extremely clear evidence that climate change is making this worse, particular in marine ecosystems with threats like coral bleaching and ecosystems like high alpines. There are many species for which 1-2 degrees of warming will be more than they can tolerate https://www.iucn.org/content/extinction-crisis-escalates-red-list-shows-apes-corals-vultures-dolphins-all-danger

          Renewable energy does have impacts, but they are far less than the impacts of fossil fuels (nuclear is even cleaner still)

          In short, as I expressed before, is there some disagreement about exactly what effects we can currently detect? Yes. There is also some disagreement about exactly how different systems will respond, but there is no disagreement that the net response will be strongly negative. Tons of studies have already documented serious negative effects, and every model and prediction shows that they will get worse. There is no disagreement that climate change will be bad.

          Like

  8. dolphinwrite says:

    In different walks of life, in a variety of subjects, we have people very certain of their “facts” and what they mean. Gratefully, in my youth, I learned to think for myself. Yes, I can listen to others. Yes, I can take in their information. But gratefully, I’ve learned two things: 1) To follow the rabbit trail of information, but also looking and listening to the other for whether understanding exists or not, and to what degree, and 2) That many people abound that believe what they believe, yet there is a blind spot. Having seen this phenomena in many walks of life, I’ve realized that I have to think for myself, but also be willing to check my own reasoning. Then, not to be afraid to say I don’t know. **This caused me to realize I might have blind spots, for if I can see this in others and realize they don’t see, perhaps I don’t see some things as well, which is why I ponder and consider. My hopes are that others realize this too, then take the necessary leap to realize they don’t have all the facts. And this is where discussions take place, and the “science is settled” is not a good enough argument, for who decides the science is settled? If they can absolutely know why a person got a heart attack or how to stop a tornado, how on Earth are they going to be “experts” in such a huge topic? But yes, it makes people feel good to think they know what they don’t. Enter Socrates. **One thing. The more a person attempts to prove what they don’t know, the more questions will arise, and this we all need to consider. Are there things we do know for certain. Yes.

    Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      Again, I agree with questioning and thinking, but, that has to involve good sources, and you have to be willing to accept the answers.

      Imagine someone wrote your exact post on an article about smoking causing cancer. What would you think? Would you think, “you know, this person is right, maybe we really don’t. After all, we should think for ourselves.” I doubt it. The evidence that smoking causes cancer is overwhelming, and this sort of a comment on a post about cancer would be an attempt to cover up blind ignorance with a veneer of intelligence. Again, yes, you should question, you should think for yourself, but if you actually do that on a topic like smoking and cancer, you will quickly find an overwhelming body of evidence showing that smoking does cause cancer, and at that point, continuing to doubt that evidence is no longer rational. Once you have been given the evidence, you have to move from a state of questioning to a state of acceptance or denial. You can either accept an overwhelming body of evidence, or you can deny it. What you can’t do, is pretend that the answer isn’t known.

      The same is true with climate change. There is an overwhelming body of consistent evidence. You can either accept it or you can deny it, but you can’t pretend that the answer isn’t known.

      Like

  9. James Noel says:

    Consensus in science is not like consensus in other fields. In science, consensus means that the overwhelming majority of scientists “in a particular field” independently come to the same conclusion when studying the data. Unlike politics where it means towing the line.

    Like

  10. Stacia Deering says:

    Thank you for responding so patiently to all of the comments. As a teacher I understand that there are, actually, stupid questions. Your steady responses to illogical attempts to disagree are inspiring to me. I hope I can reveal the logic of science to my students as well as you do to your readers. The consensus of evidence vs the consensus of experts is particularly useful when a student claims there are scientists who disagree with whatever we are discussing. I plan on studying this article further to sharpen my own responses. Recently a teacher (!!) said we can’t leave Earth’s atmosphere so we’ve never really been to space. The ignorance is scary out here….may logic prevail!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophami says:

      I second this. I teach critical thinking and political theory and am currently completing the last chapter of my dissertation which is on how widespread science denialism affects policy-making within democratic theory. When coving these topics in the classroom, I’m able to be patient with students but for some reason online I find it very difficult. For this reason, I generally don’t engage with conspiracists and denialists online. Kudos to you, Fallacy Man!
      By the way, here’s an excerpt from one of my chapters that science educators may find useful: https://wrestling-with-philosophy.com/2020/01/08/how-and-why-anti-science-propaganda-works/

      Like

      • Heath Watts says:

        I enjoyed your dissertation chapter. Nice work.

        Like

        • philosophami says:

          Thank you. Just gotta finish my last chapter and I’m done! I have no idea how Fallacy Man has time and energy to reply to comments while doing a post doc. Big respect.

          Like

          • Heath Watts says:

            Good for you! It was a big relieve to finish my PhD in 2012 (Geochemistry, Penn State). It is a stressful procedure.

            Like

      • Stacia Deering says:

        On your excerpt, very thought provoking, thank you! Oh, all points taken, now i’m Really despondent. I used to see the divide growing between students and their trust of science in general, now I perceive a growing abyss between student and the role of teacher as a trusted source. Now I understand why. I really hope it isn’t as common as it is in AZ.

        Like

        • philosophami says:

          One thing that comes through in the research on changing the minds of conspiracists and denialists is that the environment matters. Online it’s very difficult but a classroom allows for extended discussion between people face-to-face. This seems to make a difference. Since trustworthiness is the most important variable, one of the most important things a teacher can do is to establish trust. Part of this includes appearing impartial. I’m giving a workshop on this in April, perhaps I’ll post my talk on my blog later. That said, a good teacher should find ways for students to arrive at conclusions by their own (i.e., the students’) own lights. Part of this means collectively agreeing on rules of evidence and epistemic practices BEFORE talking about controversial cases. For example, start with flat earthers, put up some of the arguments and ask students to come up with a list of reasons the arguments are poor. Later, look at controversial (politically, not scientifically!) topics and ask them to apply the same rules and principles they said the flat earthers were violating.

          Like

          • Stacia Deering says:

            Well said! I certainly hope I have given my students the atmosphere conducive to reasoned discussion and questioning. It is one of the most important skills students need to have modeled for them, since it is a life skill in great need of development! Only once did I get talked into sharing my own views on a particular subject. Thank you for bringing the tools to address this to other teachers.

            Like

  11. dolphinwrite says:

    We can talk, debate, use rhetoric, and look at data. The best we have is discussions and some understanding of localized effects. But I always encourage people to keep learning as I have, for then we understand more and more, which brings more information. Thankfully, in my youth, I read the book “The Sky is Falling.” In it, an animal got hit in the head by a fruit, I think, then started panicking, telling everyone the Sky is Falling. On another day, I listened to a teacher explain gravity with a bucket of water. Realization hit me, though I didn’t realize it in that way… until later. One time, I shared a tidbit with my sister. Because she didn’t believe it, she asked for the source. But, I asked, what made the experts experts? Who decided? And so, my goal is for people to think for themselves which is much harder than allowing others to do the thinking for you. Also, if you’re not in the majority where you work or learn, you will feel apart. But you’ll retain your understanding, which I think is more important, as Socrates. Question everything. Never let others’ beliefs decide anything for you. Yes, you might need to go along as with work, but you can still retain your own identity and understanding.
    **One more thing. I tried an experiment of sorts. I told some lies with a straight face and was amazed how some people would believe it simply because I pretended absolute certainty and faked cites. Some people simply won’t do the hard work. Some people don’t know how to deal with “I’m not sure.” Better to not know than to say you know without really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stacia Deering says:

      Yes, we can look at data, and data leads to more questions, but there are answers as well. The best we have is SO much more than just discussions and personal viewpoints.
      There are experts, I can trust the experts, and I can let others do a lot of thinking for me! There are credible sources of credible information which enable me to accurately understand what others have found to be true; that’s how learning works. Please read the dissertation excerpt philosophami posted above. It seems pertinent.

      Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      You keep posting this same drivel and I’ve tolerated it so far, but it is becoming repetitive and annoying (i.e., trolling) so consider this your official warming to stop trolling. If you want to have an actual intelligent discussion fine, but continuing to post the exact same thing with slightly different wording while refusing to respond to the rebuttals you’ve been given is not fine (I am also pretty amused that you keep liking your own comments).

      “But, I asked, what made the experts experts?” in science, over a decade of training and a lifetime of actually doing science.

      Again, as has been explained to you multiple times, questioning is good, but you must be willing to accept the answers to those questions. When you are given a mountain of evidence and willfully ignore it, at that point, you are no longer questioning, you are blindly denying facts.

      Like

      • Heath Watts says:

        Denying facts is what deniers do. As a group, deniers are a danger to society and the future of life on earth. As the impacts of climate change become increasingly catastrophic, we need to consider what we should do with those who have lied about it for decades, such as the surviving Koch brother (I’m still celebrating the death of one of them.), petroleum and coal company CEOs, and others who have deliberately misled the (mostly) scientifically-illiterate public. Of course, they will likely not be punished, just as those who lied about the danger of tobacco use were not punished.

        Like

        • dolphinwrite says:

          That’s a statement being utilized over and over. The technique that if you don’t go along, then you’re an awful person has been utilized many a times throughout history. We saw this in school yards with cliques. But it is easily seen through. I could say those who believe in man-made global anything as understanding-deniers. But it’s meaningless without facts and understanding.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Heath Watts says:

            You’re not an awful person; however, you’ve been fooled by awful people such as the Koch brothers. You are the type of person who, for example, visits 1000 physicians and when physician number 1000 gives you the answer that you find acceptable, you claim that the other 999 were incorrect, even when they were not.

            What facts and understanding would make you accept the evidence of climate change? You’re likely a layperson with respect to climatology research, as am I. However, I have a PhD in geochemistry and specialize in computational geochemistry. I use a method first developed in the 1960s called density functional theory (DFT) to study the interactions between mineral surfaces and potentially hazardous metals such as cadmium or metalloids such as arsenic. The methods that I use can help experimentalists better understand their data at the molecular level. In addition, DFT calculations allow us to study systems that are dangerous, unstable, or both, which are either problematic or difficult to study in the laboratory. DFT is an excellent tool, but it has its shortcomings, which I understand, and all scientists in my field understand.

            If I worked in an area that threatened some capitalist such as the remaining Koch brother, they would immediately attack my field like they attack the evidence from climatology. Of course, they would be attacking my field without the knowledge to understand the science, but that would not stop them, just as it has not stopped them from attacking climate change evidence, evidence for the dangers of tobacco use, etc. It’s all about the money. (Please don’t claim that climate scientists use grant money to get rich. That is an argument used by people who have never met a scientist, are fools, or who are liars (e.g., the Koch brothers disinformation machine again).)

            When a given field has generated over forty years of data that all shows one trend, as climate studies have, it is unlikely that there is something so problematic within that mass of evidence that the the theory is incorrect. Scientists have known for more than one-hundred years that when carbon dioxide is added to a system, temperatures increase. Now, scientists have amassed data from satellite studies, isotope studies, and other methods that all show that 1. the climate is changing, 2. mean global temperatures are rising, and 3. humans are causing this change.

            Again, arguing about the evidence for climate change does not make you an awful person, but it does make you seem gullible, disingenuous, or both. Being skeptical is generally a good choice, but you are being skeptical of the overwhelming evidence for climate change, rather than the lies about the science, which is a poor choice.

            Like

      • dolphinwrite says:

        Nice try. Look. On a public forum where ideas are placed before people, there is the opportunity for people to read and respond. I’m not sure you understood this concept and what blogs are intended. By placing your ideas in such a format, you’re inviting people to respond. And as I understand both the tactics and points made, it is necessary to share understanding so those reading can realize the difficulty of what you think is settled science. It is not. And there simply is not enough information, far from it, in order to make such justifications, which is why I shared, encouraging people to do their research, never completely blindly believing “experts,” and certainly one who hasn’t truly thought things through. I understand some people like to share thoughts as if they were fact, and the same can not face or understand that others see things they do not. I am grateful for having understood things for myself. Seeing the type person(s) that are hardwired to spout things as if they were true, I realized that encouraging people to think for themselves, which is what we should all aim to encourage in others, is of utmost importance. It’s how this country came to be. Free thinkers who, through debates and discussions, found the best answers up to that point. **But I understand the techniques you’re employing. To those who understand, it’s very easy to see through. Using rhetoric, barbs, and quips, then sharing “official warning”. That spells a lot. Attempting to create reactions to a “princess” like attitude works on the more sheep-like people. But truth is truth. Reality is reality. And it’s more important to place that before personality. But you can share as well, and you can go on with the attitude. What I’m attempting to do is discuss. There’s an old saying, we can agree to disagree. But to one who cannot face disagreements, then this format can work. My hopes are the people reading realize things for themselves, never believing anyone simply because they are certain in themselves. I too am certain in myself. But I encourage others not to agree with me, but look for the understanding within themselves. If you agree with me because you see the understanding in yourself, then good.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fallacy Man says:

          Again, you’re not giving any evidence or reasoning, just a blind denial of an insanely huge body of evidence. That’s not rational, that’s not thinking clearly, and it certainly isn’t understanding. It is willful ignorance.

          Like

  12. dolphinwrite says:

    Here will be my parting comment, leaving you to your blog, which is public, unless I read something that very necessarily needs responding. Just because you believe it, sit on an imaginary pulpit of authority, and “scream” deniers, does not make it so. Many people exist who believe in error and they cannot deal with people who calmly think, reasons, and ponder. They cannot deal with clear thinking individuals. I’m not sure whether they were born this way or came to this behavior while growing up, perhaps influenced.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heath Watts says:

      Science doesn’t require belief and is not a philosophical exercise. Either the data supports your assertions or it does not. All of the data for the past forty years has provided evidence that the earth’s climate has been changing rapidly since the start of the industrial revolution, that the planet’s mean temperature is increasing, and that humans are causing these changes.

      When those in denial are faced with overwhelming evidence and they continue to deny that evidence, “clear thinking” should not be used as a descriptor for those people.

      Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      Oh please. Get off your absurd, pretentious high horse and stop pretending that you alone are “thinning clearly” and all of the thousands of scientists who have devoted their lives to this topic are incapable of thinking clearly about it. You aren’t thinking clearly, because actual rational thought requires the acceptance of evidence. Thinking clearly means demanding evidence before accepting a position, and accepting evidence when presented with it. Your position has zero evidence to back it up and blindly ignores the evidence collected by thousands of studies. You are no different than the people who deny that HIV causes AIDs, flat earthers, or any other form of science denial. They all claim to be the only ones who are thinking clearly. They all claim that everyone else is just biased and dogmatic. They all claim to be just asking questions, but they are all wrong, and they are all blindly denying evidence just as you are.

      Like

  13. dolphinwrite says:

    Okay. One more time. What facts? And what are the mechanisms for those facts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heath Watts says:

      realclimate.org has the answers to all of your questions.

      Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      When literally thousands of studies have examined a topic from numerous angles, and all reached the same conclusion, it is a fact. This is why we can say that it is a fact that smoking causes cancer. Countless studies have confirmed it, and there is not evidence to the contrary. The existence of a handful of doctors who disagree does not change that fact, nor would a non-expert sitting around speculating about “thinking.”

      The same is true with climate change. It has been tested thousands of times from numerous angles, and all of the evidence agrees. It is a fact, and unless you have actual evidence that it is wrong, you are blindly denying that fact.

      Skepticism is a rational doubt when faced with a lack of evidence. Denial is a refusal to accept facts and evidence.

      See studies discussed here and the literally tens of thousands of other studies that have been conducted https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/06/06/global-warming-isnt-natural-and-heres-how-we-know/

      Like

  14. dolphinwrite says:

    One other thing. Under no conditions would I ever allow myself to completely believe anyone because of the title of expert. With time, I might have respect for them, but I’ve lived long enough and listened to enough “experts” to realize everyone has blind spots. But if a mechanic consistently fixes my car, I trust them, but I know they can be fallible. Now, regards to something as big as the Earth and all I’ve learned, which is probably far more than most global experts, I will seriously question. Especially, if they say, they’re trusting their opinions to others to do the thinking for them, then hammering others for not believing when we have done a lot of research. I would more listen to someone thinking for themselves, realizing they might not have it all, then one who disses others when they themselves are not in command of the facts, which is long in need of more information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heath Watts says:

      You are disbelieving every climatologist, meteorologist, geochemist, chemist, and every other scientist who has added to the mountain of evidence for climate change for the past 40 years. If it were one expert positing the evidence, your skepticism could have merit, but thousands of experts have all come to the same conclusions. You are either being stubborn or stupid in dismissing the evidence amassed by thousands of experts. Again, realclimate.org has all of the answers to your questions, based on the evidence. If you chose not to accept the evidence, then that is your option; however, don’t expect anyone to take your unwarranted opinions seriously.

      Like

      • dolphinwrite says:

        Nice try. They don’t all agree.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Heath Watts says:

          Those who do climate research do. People who sign denier petitions who have bachelors degrees in history, engineering, or art history might not accept the evidence, but their opinions don’t matter with regard to a particular field of science.

          Like

        • Fallacy Man says:

          “Nice try. They don’t all agree.”

          You are literally commenting on an article that presented the evidence that over 99.9% of them do, and you have provided no evidence that the article is wrong.

          Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      You’ll notice if you actually read my article and “think clearly” about it, that I explicitly stated that our confidence in the reality of climate change comes for them consistent body of evidence, and the consensus of experts is simply a result of that body of evidence. Further, trusting one individual and practically every expert in the entire world are two very different things.

      I ask you again, how is your position different from denying that smoking causes cancer. How is it any different from saying, “the human body is very complex, and no expert has all the answers, so I don’t accept that smoking causes cancer.” Do you see why that is absurd and irrational?

      Like

  15. dolphinwrite says:

    By the way. I want to thank everyone who attempts to bring relevant discussions on these blogs. Most people reading understand my position of thinking for yourself. From my youth, through growing up, conversations and readings, then tons of research, I grew in understanding that there are type people who “truly” believe and those who feign beliefs for some ulterior motive. The true believers have blind spots, like most people, and the ones who feign have some vested interest in pressing their ideas whether others understand or not. And it is the realization that many are subject to misinformation that I share but have also encouraged others in realization. Socrates was a great example of this, and I would encourage many to read his works. I don’t agree with everything Socrates said, but in his understanding of the human condition, he was spot on.
    Whenever you hear someone says the science is settled, that they are trusting in the experts who must know, then look at their credentials, my red flags immediate comes up. Especially when it comes with calling names and using barbs and rhetoric to belittle those who truly think for themselves (I have to listen, in their talking, is understanding their pursuit. People give themselves away.), will go to the nth degree in consideration, and have common sense which we’ve never abandoned. I encourage readers to be brave and be willing to understand the phrase: I don’t know. I’m still researching. I’m still considering. And at this point in time, I don’t see the evidence. Or, I see indications, and this will require more information and testing.
    Hospital patients understand this. We rely on the experts in the medical field to help us. When we have illnesses, we’re grateful for those professionals who spend their lives trying to help others. But we also know that medical science is not settled. There is still debate regarding whether cholesterol has any impact on heart disease. There are still questions on how cancer comes to some and not others, even in the same environments. And there are many other areas. But this is why we keep researching. This is why we encourage patients to become their own advocates, seek others’ opinions, and bravely follow the doctors’ advice while continuing self-research. And sometimes, patients bring to the floor something doctors haven’t considered. I have been there.
    Now, I know we give the title of “experts” to some people. And in a sense, they are. But any real expert knows they don’t know everything, if they’re honest. And something as amazing and complex as the Earth, especially with all the research I and my friends have done, coupled with discussions and listening, never letting our common sense go, simply is far too daunting to make blanket statements when we know the science regarding the Earth is very short in time, but maybe, in another millennium, we might be closer to understand. But I seriously doubt, even in another thousand years will we have enough. Currently, we aren’t even using accurate gauges consistently, accounting for man-made developments and natural changes: at least not to the degree that could be construed as necessary. Think. What was America doing 100 years ago, even 150 years, even 50, that would give us any indication of enough research to warrant what some are saying? It’s not there. We know the Earth goes through cycles, the sun goes through cycles, and there are other anomalies in space that might effect, and can the scientists account for all these elements, to separate the real from rhetoric, to separate all the elements from what is only man-made? And how long would it take? How do you know all the other elements, then separate? I doubt some of the writer using barbs even understand what I’m alluding to. But I hope they do, for in that, they might start to think deeper.
    When someone causes those who are truly considering, will not be thought through, will not be pressured or bullied into believing, but want to understand the science, so they research and read reports, climate deniers, dishonesty, ignorance, or misguidedness, comes to the fore. When I talk to anyone, the first thing I do, if they have something they feel is important, is listen to their voice, then look in their eyes.
    As one who has had many jobs, I have also taught others to think for themselves. And as I encourage them, this causes me to more think for myself. I couldn’t care less if the others see things I don’t. In fact, I love it when another brings into discussions things I haven’t considered, just as I’m using this article to further real discussions. I love the challenge. I love learning. I love becoming more aware through the discussions with others. In other words, I’m not closed-minded. But I will have to understand your position, if you have one. And I will filter through your thinking and words, for what you say tells me everything about your position (This is not to the writer, but to anyone.). And I can see dishonesty, misguidedness, or blind spots a mile away.
    Anyone who tells me that they are absolutely certain of something so big and that others are “hate mongers” or deniers, especially when they themselves don’t understand but are relying on “experts,” I have serious questions, and question them. Do I rely on experts? In some areas, yes. Do I blindly follow them? Never. For I know, even experts are fallible, and certainly the ones who blindly follow them (I love my car mechanic. Never have I had to return a vehicle for the same problem. But even he will admit to a few mistakes during his career. These “expert” climate scientists are not admitting as much, and on something much bigger and far more complex.). A real expert is one who declares what they learned but are unafraid to explain they don’t know everything but are giving their best within the fields they’re in. And that, my friendly readers, is something we all should encourage. For in this, better solutions are discovered. Better. Not perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      I was just about to delete this comment and ban you since you did not heed my warning about trolling (i.e., posting fundamentally the same comment over and over again), but there was one thing you said that I want to comment on because it is the reason your argument is flawed (I’ll also make a few comments on one other).

      “We know the Earth goes through cycles, the sun goes through cycles, and there are other anomalies in space that might effect, and can the scientists account for all these elements, to separate the real from rhetoric, to separate all the elements from what is only man-made? And how long would it take?”

      This has already been done! The answer to “how long would it take?” is “we did it years ago.” That’s precisely my point! You are sitting there claiming to be “thinking clearly” and pretending that all of the worlds climatologists are idiots who have not thought clearly, who have note tested these things, who have not rationally considered facts, etc., but the reality is that we have tested the natural drivers of climate change. We have very carefully studied past climates to understand what drives climate changes. We have studied all of the drivers of climate change, and the result has consistently been that:
      A. Natural drivers of climate change cannot explain the current warming
      B. Past natural fluctuations in CO2 has caused climate change
      C. The current increase in CO2 is from us
      D. Our CO2 is driving the current warming. In statistical analyses, it explains the patterns while natural drivers do not, and we literally have satellites that have measured our CO2 trapping heat.
      see the studies discussed here https://thelogicofscience.com/2016/06/06/global-warming-isnt-natural-and-heres-how-we-know/

      That is why your position is disingenuous, blind, and irrational. You are pretending that this hasn’t been tested, but it has. The fact that YOU do not understand the climate, does not mean that it isn’t understood. Your lack of ability to understand science is not a valid argument against it (the line is not original with me).

      “Hospital patients understand this. We rely on the experts in the medical field to help us. When we have illnesses, we’re grateful for those professionals who spend their lives trying to help others. But we also know that medical science is not settled.”
      So if 9,999 doctors tell you you have cancer, will you listen to them, or will you sit around and “think clearly” about it? Are there things in medicine that are still debated? Sure, but there are also lots of things that are as close to settled as science ever comes. There are lots of things that have such a consistent body of evidence that it would be absurd not to accept them. The same is true with climate change.

      The reality is that for all your talk of thinking clearly, you are taking the intellectually lazy route of assuming that experts don’t know what they are talking about. Rather than actually doing the hard work and reading the studies and looking at the evidence, you are just assuming that the information isn’t known. You are being intellectually dishonest.

      “Thinking clearly” inherently requires being willing to accept evidence, which is something that you are apparently unwilling to do. So here is my question for you: what would convince you that we are causing climate change? If thousands of studies and satellites literally measuring our CO2 trapping excess heat aren’t enough for you, then what would be? What would it take?

      You say you like the Socratic method, so tell me, if our CO2 is not trapping heat and driving warming, why have satellites measured it doing precisely that?

      Like

  16. dolphinwrite says:

    The very comment that you shared: banning, is very telling (Excuse me for laughing when I read that. But it was humorous in the extreme. If only you could hear yourself, but the attitude interferes with understanding, indicating a serious condition of pride, not understanding). Readers should carefully read viewpoints, and understand the dynamics. I have been fortunate to really listen and understand via words and behavior what is going on. And in this, I can help others to wake up and stop allowing the “true believers” who are in error to use their brash beliefs to overcome their thinking. Remember, you decided to blog, which is a public forum, inviting people to read, apparently not realizing that other people may have information you are not as yet privy to, which I am providing with others. When I write, anyone can comment, in agreement or not. So, when you respond, that is your opportunity. But when you put the thoughts out, you will be subject to people who see errors in thinking. Honest people, those secure in themselves, don’t have a difficulty with challenges or alternative ideas, for in this, they share and explain, letting the readers and observers decide for themselves. For I am fully confident in my position. But remember, I understand the position you are in, for I have seen it throughout life, and so I can educate others, including the readers, exactly the mechanisms used. I have seen what happens when those deluded or misinformed speak with apparent authority, and have met young adults who shared that they are now realizing the misinformation given in their childhood. They are starting to realize and think for themselves. When people understand these mechanisms, they may also wake up to having been “talked down to” by “experts” who really are not experts. They may also come to see they’ve been living in thinking error, so wake up, and start thinking for themselves, which would put the so-called “experts” out of power, each person able to do their own research, or read the “experts” papers but analyze themselves, which is very important to a free people. Honest people look for honesty and understanding. They invite others to speak, respectfully, something the dishonest experts don’t want to allow. Why would anyone claiming to know say such things as “ban,” which in this format is not possible but very telling. The very fact that my common sense and understanding is viewed as anything but thoughtful discussion is very telling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      I reiterate, again, thinking means actually dealing with facts and contrary evidence. I have presented you with facts. Why do you ignore them? Similarly, if you are actually thinking, then you should answer questions like, “what would convince you that you are wrong?” This is a very reasonable question, and someone who is actually willing to think and engage with evidence should take it seriously, yet you have ignored that question.

      “The very fact that my common sense and understanding is viewed as anything but thoughtful discussion is very telling.”
      Again, you’re not actually discussing anything. You keep insisting over and over again that you are the only one who is thinking, yet you have given zero evidence to support your position, and you are blindly denying the evidence you have been presented. That is not thinking.

      The ban warning (which I am going to follow through with after responding to your final comments) is not because I am trying to suppress reasonable discussion, but rather that you are continuing to post the same basic comment over and over again while blindly ignoring rebuttals and refusing to accept facts (this is a form of trolling and it is forbidden precisely because it does not allow for thoughtful dialogue). I am banning you precisely because you are not engaging in anything even remotely resembling thoughtful discussion. Simply saying, “all of the studies and world’s experts are wrong because I’ve thought about it” is the exact opposite of thoughtful. It is the very definition of willful ignorance. So, given that you refuse to actually engage with the evidence you’ve been given (see all the links in the article and links in the various comments) and that you refuse to answer the questions you’ve been asked, I am no longer going to waste time on you or give you a free platform for your nonsense.

      Like

    • Fallacy Man says:

      to quote the comment rules, “Finally, do not waste my time by repeatedly making the same arguments on multiple posts. I have no interest in an echo chamber, so I don’t block people who are making actual arguments and having an intelligent discourse. However, if you engage in trolling behavior and repeatedly make the same comments over and over again even though they have already been thoroughly discussed, I reserve the write to block you from future commenting, otherwise all my time is spent pointlessly rehashing arguments I’ve already had.”

      Like

  17. dolphinwrite says:

    One other thing, and again, this is for readers. If you have the ability to delete my comments, that is something you can choose to do, but I think you also do it at the realization of more readers realizing the unwillingness, probably due to pride, to honest discussions. The reaction, which is probably resentment, is very telling. Speak honestly. Share. Others comment. You provide your own information. Myself and others provide others. And in this, the readers gain from hearing multiple shares. And to them, I write, using this opportunity, which is public. But if you truly cannot here counter points, then you should do what keeps you feeling safe in that state of mind. **Remember, you shared that you don’t know (You said it.), that you’re relying on experts. So when you share that these experts have adequately tested, which you are not part of their studies so have no intimate knowledge. Look, this can be done all day. But remember, I appreciate the opportunity to get others thinking for themselves so pseudo-experts do not condition them that they grow up with their own minds. This is very important. For the damage I have seen in people walking around with serious blindspots needs addressing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stacia Deering says:

      Dolphinwrite, on all the readers’ behalf, I commend the author for responding to your rants with a calm demeanor. He has countered every point you have tried to make a case for, and you reply with absolutely nothing of substance. I hereby deem your comments unworthy of any further responses, at least as far as I am concerned. By your second sentence, I gave up even reading further. If you are hoping to broadcast some sort of secret knowledge to which you alone are privy, you have failed. You are not impressing anyone, and you should use what little wisdom you have and stop trying.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fallacy Man says:

      The problem is that you have not given a single counter point. You have not debated. You have not engaged with the facts. You keep writing lengthy nonsense about “thinking” yet you refuse to do so yourself. You have presented no evidence to discredit the studies you’ve been shown. You are simply choosing to blindly ignore them. You are denying facts. That’s all there is to this.

      I’ve been patient and given you ample time to defend your position and you have failed to do so. You also have not heeded my warnings about trolling. This post is public, but it is my page, which means I set the rules, and the comment rules warn against your behavior (i.e., repeatedly making the same comment over and over again without actually dealing with rebuttals), and I have warned you personally. Since you won’t follow the rules of the page, I am hereby rescinding your right to comment.

      Like

  18. nootkatensis says:

    Thank you so much for these posts – they are a genuine service, and additionally enjoyable and refreshing in their style. Also, your patience with and attention to some of the comments is epic; I’ve greatly appreciated your (re-) explanations, examples, and overall approach.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.