10 October 2013
LA Times- You’re Entitled To Your Climate Change Conspiracy Theory, But We Aren’t Printing It
Posted by Dan Satterfield
I’ve always gotten some rather crazy comments when I do a post on climate change. My comment policy here requires a name, and if you make a claim, I reserve the right to ask for some hard evidence. This usually means the conspiracy theories don’t often appear here. Don’t make the mistake of assuming I can’t take criticism however, because I love a good debate based on science.
I’ve long thought that blogs should use the same editorial judgement of newspapers. That means crazy accusations and claims do not always get published. Good journalism is about giving accurate facts, and not about giving equal time. Just because you think the Moon Landing was a hoax, does not mean you’re entitled to equal time on every story about the Apollo program.
If news stories on climate change gave the correct proportion of time to those scientists who disagree with the consensus, then a 30 minute TV program about it would have about 15 seconds devoted to those who disagree.
It seems the LA Times has adopted the same policy.
I’m sure that this will be seen by some as proof that the truth is being withheld from the public. That’s the great thing about a good conspiracy though, any proof that it’s wrong, is just part of the conspiracy!
Thank you for stating what should be the SOP for blogs and web sites. Science is driven by data; Idiocy is driven by ideology.
Anyone that knows me well knows that I really hate a good conspiracy theory. However, my view on most theories is that 99% of the ones you find on the Internet are absolute, total bunk produced by people that should be seeking out counseling rather than distributing their delusional ramblings across the Internet.
My close friend lives on conspiracy so much so he is paying me to blog about it here lukesmessage.blogspot.com
“If news stories on climate change gave the correct proportion of time to those scientists who disagree with the consensus, then a 30 minute TV program about it would have about 15 seconds devoted to those who disagree.”
Can you give a reference for that? 15/30*60 = 0.83%, which doesn’t sound right. And which consensus are you talking about?
I’m aware of Von Storch and Bray’s survey that found about 30% of climate scientists disagree. Note – that’s not scientists generally. I’m also aware of Doran and Zimmerman, who found about 15% of climate scientists opposed to the consensus, having to whittle their sample down to 75/77 (=97%) of the most published/cited climate scientists in favour. I’m aware of the Anderegg paper that listed 472 sceptics and 903 believers in the consensus, about 66% in favour – not a uniform sample, of course – that they again whittled down to just those who got published a lot. And there’s also the Cook literature survey that assessed paper abstracts rather than scientists, and so was again biased towards those who get published more. Farnsworth and Lichter report 84% agreeing the global warming was human caused, while 5% disagreed.
However, none of these surveys claim to have surveyed scientists in general. They only consider particular subsets such as climate scientists or those who are active in the field. And none of these statistics are about the more important question of whether climate change will be catastrophic/dangerous (although see the full von Storch/Bray paper), which is surely what the skepticism is about. So where did you get your data from? And what did you do to check it?
I based that on peer reviewed papers published looking at peer reviewed papers on climate. The most recent study is here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009EO030002/abstract
Others have come up with nearly the same number, all the way back to Oreskes in Science back in 2004.
So was you aware that Doran actually says in that paper: “Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered “risen” to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2.” where question 2 was: “2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”?
I’m still trying to work out where you get your 99.2% figure from. Given Doran’s figure of 82%, a 30 minute program should have 5 minutes 24 seconds of contrary views, surely?
I’ve read the Doran paper but what is missing here is that it’s a survey of opinion of a “large and broad” group. I based my 97% on three different studies that looked at the papers published in peer reviewed journals. I can tell you that among meteorologists, the number is far below 80%. Mainly because they let their political worldview trump logic.If the 18% in the Doran survey disagree, why have they not published??
These surveys of opinion are much less valuable than surveys of published papers.
as for the time in a 30 min. program. It should be about one minute actually, but I used 22 mins of airtime for a 30 min. program without thinking. That’s from working in TV all these years. On the BBC it would be about 50 secs.