the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Guess John Cook’s Title — Contest

Posted by Jeff Id on May 4, 2013

John Cook (of the inaccurately named Skeptical Science blog) sent me a link to a new survey.  The survey has been discussed around the internet for the last couple of days because John was involved in the last Lewandowsky paper which combined poor methodology with libelous remarks directed at the “subjects” being “studied” to justify the authors pre-determined conclusion personal attacksLucia’s blog has an interesting discussion on the survey.  She decided that she would not to link the new survey at all.  It is an understandable decision as we can be certain that this new survey will result in another propaganda piece attacking those of us who live in reality.

I am so certain of the pending result, that before providing the link at this blog, you will be mirandized — Skeptical Science style:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say WILL be misrepresented to your detriment in the court of public opinion.
  • You have the right to consult an attorney before the survey and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, you are on your own.
  • If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
  • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer John’s questions without an attorney present?

Survey link here:

I will not take the survey myself, because of my certainty of the authors biased motivations but it still might be fun to guess their conclusions so I think we will have a contest. Guess the title of John’s new paper! After the paper is released, I will categorize the results of our contest and we will vote on the best guesses for both creativity and closest match.   To guess right, we need to find some clues!!

First, a clue as to where the survey conclusions are going on the first page:

Please read each title and abstract then estimate the level of endorsement that is expressed in that paper for anthropogenic global warming (e.g., that human activity is causing global warming).

It is hard for me to understand how you “rate” a scientific paper based on its acknowledgment of a completely uncontested fact like CO2 based temperature change.    It seems a bit like rating a paper on its acknowledgment that the sky is blue.  Fortunately there is more detail to work with on the survey page:

Survey of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Research

Below are listed the titles and abstracts (summary) of 10 randomly selected scientific papers; mouseover each title to read the abstract (summary). Please read each title and abstract then select from the drop down to categorize each abstract. Your rating should be based on the abstract text. Your submission will be anonymous. The drop down indicates indicates the level of endorsement within the abstract for the proposition that human activity (i.e., anthropogenic greenhouse gases) is causing global warming (e.g., the increase in temperature).

Note: AGW is Anthropogenic Global Warming or human-caused global warming.

Options are:

  1. Explicit Endorsement with Quantification: abstract explicitly states that humans are causing more than half of global warming.
  2. Explicit Endorsement without Quantification: abstract explicitly states humans are causing global warming or refers to anthropogenic global warming/climate change as a given fact.
  3. Implicit Endorsement: abstract implies humans are causing global warming. E.g., research assumes greenhouse gases cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause.
  4. Neutral: abstract doesn’t address or mention issue of what’s causing global warming.
  5. Implicit Rejection: abstract implies humans have had a minimal impact on global warming without saying so explicitly. E.g., proposing a natural mechanism is the main cause of global warming.
  6. Explicit Rejection without Quantification: abstract explicitly minimizes or rejects that humans are causing global warming.
  7. Explicit Rejection with Quantification: abstract explicitly states that humans are causing less than half of global warming.

NOTE: These papers have been rated by the scientists who authored the papers. After submission, you may view a comparison of your ratings with the ratings by the authors of each paper.  –MY RED

In order to compose a title, we have to guess the results he will find.  A reader at Lucias noted that the abstracts the reader sees are “randomized” based on the proxy address you are using and that repeated abstracts at different proxy addresses are common.  That suggests a low pre-selected paper count which is confirmed by the additional fact that the survey answers can be compared to the authors own answers.  Of course not every author would participate in the study, they can only have a small set of abstracts. It is also possible that in order to gain cooperation, some authors were aware of the intent of the survey.  This may have been justified in John Cook’s mind, since they are oft represented by his Skeptical Science blog as unimpeachable.

So here is what I am guessing will happen.  Some skeptics will give low ratings for the papers because their obviously biased support of catastrophic warming and the pervasive poor level of science in climate change.  Those who are advocates for climate catastrophe science (including the authors) will be biased toward giving 1’s (top ratings) for their endorsement but will slide on papers which are less extremist in the abstract.  We already know that the Climate Science field is comprised nearly universally of politically left advocates, so the authors your answers are compared to will be biased in the same direction as the advocate blogging crowd.

The opening page of the survey notes a “proven consensus” paper coming out, so adding to that conclusion is unlikely to be the point.

This survey mirrors a paper, Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, to be published soon in Environmental Research Letters, that analysed over 12,000 climate papers published between 1991 to 2011.

Additionally, those who link from skeptic blogs or from advocate blogs will probably be sorted by their links (I am guessing).  So with that little bit of guesswork, here are some of my predicted titles:

Skeptics Deny Science Literature

Motivated Denial of Scientific Literature

Skeptics are so stupid!  — I am formally registering the exclamation point as an integral part of the title.

Skeptics Reject Scientific Consensus

Scientific Rejection, A Manipulated Manifestation of Morons.

It is possible that those taking the survey will be unsorted, but I doubt it.  That does lead to a whole slew of other potentially winning titles! 😀




37 Responses to “Guess John Cook’s Title — Contest”

  1. omanuel said

    “Unbiased Survey Reveals Biased Skeptics!” would mimic the technique of famous politicians: “I Am Not A Liar!” or “What Is Is?”

  2. omnologos said

    “Unreasonable Rejection : Conspiracy Theorism Among Climate Skeptics Makes Them Refuse To Participate In Crowdsourcing Project”. Authors Cook and Lew.

  3. kim2ooo said

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
    HA HA HA HA!

  4. DirkH said

    What? The idiot wants us to tell him how pro CO2AGW papers X,Y,Z are? Well I guess all of them a lot, as nearly all scientists ride the CO2AGW gravy train. Heck I would, I love free money. Or let’s make that currency units.

  5. Bob said

    “Consensus And Red Herrings”

    “Quantifying Consensus With Lewendowsky Type Strawman Ideation – Making It Up As You Go”

    “Cooking The Consensus With Heads I Win – Tails You Lose”

    Forgive my poor attempts at academic tiles. It is only Saturday afternoon, and I have had no alcohol.

  6. Jeff

    NOTE: These papers have been rated by the scientists who authored the papers. After submission, you may view a comparison of your ratings with the ratings by the authors of each paper. –MY RED

    There are a few difficulties with comparing ones rating based on the wording of the abstract compared to the authors own rating which is based both on the full paper and inevitably on his actual views.

    For example among other abstracts, I rated this:

    Tropical Cyclones And Climate Change: Unresolved Issues
    This paper reviews our current understanding of the effect of climate change on tropical cyclones. While there are presently no discernible changes in tropical cyclone characteristics that could reasonably be ascribed to global warming, predictions suggest some increases in tropical cyclone maximum intensity in a warmer world. Formation regions are unlikely to change, while little consensus has emerged regarding changes in cyclone numbers or tracks. Some uncertainty in these predictions is created by clear deficiencies in current climate models. If predictions of intensities are correct, however, changes should be detectable in the Atlantic some time after 2050. Tropical Cyclones And Climate Change: Unresolved Issues

    I can get the paper. It is by a JohnWalsh. However, when filling out Cook’s survey, I have to go by the abstract. What does it say?

    There ‘are presently no discernible changes in tropical cyclone characteristics that could reasonably be ascribed to global warming,’
    Predictions say there will be some.
    If predictions are correct, we should be able to discern some by 2050.

    Ok… so if I am literally reading the abstract only, what do I think? Is observing no discernable changes “minimizing”? Certainly he must quantify because he had to do some statistical tests to be able to say whether there are discernable changes and so forth.

    After all, there are papers out there that say there are observable changes. Saying there are none would be minimizing relative to that. Is he endorsing the predictions? Or just telling us that if they are right (which we do not yet know) we should be able to tell by 2050? ‘

    Now let’s turn to the full paper. In the full paper the author writes “While the evidence that anthropogenic
    greenhouse gases are having important effects on the global climate becomes more convincing
    every year, we remain considerably uncertain of their effect on tropical cyclones.”

    So it is clear that he things AGW is true. Moreover, if I were asked to say if the full paper says AGW is true I would say yes, the paper presents the view that AGW is true. If I were presented the paper, I would pick one of the lower numbered choices. But I cannot say that based on a literal reading of the abstract; because I was presented the abstract I picked something neutral or possibly below.

    Moreover, I don’t doubt that the author himself thinks AGW is true.

    So ordinarily, I would simply point out that you cannot determine the level of consensus about AGW by reading abstracts. It can’t be done. It’s silly at the outset. Anyone who suggests doing so is an idiot. Because abstracts are very brief and focus on the main subject of a particular study. That is almost never ‘attribution of climate change’.

    I’m also a bit puzzled by apparent claims that
    a) the 10 papers are selected at random from the full database and
    b) the 10 papers were individually rated by their authors (which appears to be claimed after you take the survey.)

    Did Cook etc. get every author of the 12,000 to rate every paper individually using the Cook pulldown menu? This would have to be the case for both claims to be true. Wouldn’t at least a few papers have dropped out of the list owing to death, disability or retirement on the part of the authors? It might be interesting to find out whether authors had rated their own abstracts, papers or…what!

    • omnologos said

      Lucia – it all makes sense if this is just another attempt at publishing silly remote-psychology papers.

    • Lucia,

      I don’t think it is written anywhere that the 10 papers are randomly selected from the full database. It seems that the 10 papers are randomly selected from an unknown group, and those papers came from the database. How the subset of papers which are randomly selected, was selected, doesn’t seem to be disclosed.

      • Jeff–
        I sort of agree. I’d say the blurb provided so far leads people to believe that the 10 are selected from the full (~12,000 paper) database, and each of the papers in the database is equally likely to be selected. That definitely seems untrue.

        Presumably Cook will elaborate on the meaning of “random” should he ever write this up.

        • Jeff Condon said

          Hopefully, he doesn’t try to skip over the whole which papers were selected issue. Using “hidemyass” someone could make an estimate of the subset size, just in case Cook forgets to describe the non-random process used to select the subset of abstracts from the 12000.

  7. M Simon said

    I propose “Toilet” . It will probably be something else.

  8. Layman Lurker said

    Go Hawks!

  9. Timothy S said

    there is no way he got 12000 papers and authors to rate their paper SOLEly on the abstract. Several don’t
    even mention a measurable state wrt GW so don’t know or neutral is the only answer but I will bet dollars to donuts that the authors rating is what the authors has implied or put IN the paper.

  10. hunter said

    Off topic, but how about an update on CG3?
    It has been quite along time……..

  11. Jeff: Your proposed titles for the upcoming Cook paper are missing something: 97%.

    • Jeff Condon said


      My best guess is that the other paper covers that but perhaps you are right.

      “Skeptics and Scientists Agree on Existence of Consensus”

      I don’t see how they can write this since they only have a subset of the 12000 papers, but I don’t see how they write a lot of things.

  12. Skiphil said

    Jeff, an aside if I may (don’t have any good titles yet)…….

    I think that Cook’s crucial phrase “level of endorsement within the abstract” is fatally ambiguous between endorsement as ASSUMPTION (the paper assumes AGW and then goes on to study some further issue), and endorsement as EVIDENCE resulting from that paper itself.

    Nearly all of the 10 abstracts I saw in one visit to the survey were of the former kind but not the latter kind. They assumed/asserted AGW, but did not even pretend to offer evidence for it. It can hardly add evidence to the case to cite thousands of papers which assume the case has been proved; that is merely herd mentality, no matter what the issue. Cook and Oreskes and everyone who tries to do these vast literature surveys must produce garbage if they cannot even distinguish between papers which make an assumption and papers which actually provide rigorous evidence. More remarks here:

    CA on Cook’s survey

  13. Sera said

    Scatalogical Observations Of Conspiracy Ideation By The 97% Through Interpretive Dance?

  14. Jeff Condon said

    The sad bit about this work is that it has no potential to improve understanding of anything.

    • redcords said

      Here lies 97% of
      Climate Science.

      No potential to
      improve understanding
      of anything.

      1988-2013 RIP

  15. Gary said

    “Measuring Bias in Favor of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change in the Peer-reviewed Climate Science Literature: A Psychometric Sentimental Journey Through the Blogosphere”

    Well, that should be the title.

  16. Jeff said:
    “……of a completely uncontested fact like CO2 based temperature change.”

    As usual you are right. If I was dumb enough to answer the survey I would have to admit that CO2 does have an effect on planetary surface temperatures so I would be counted as a believer in CAGW.

    The great thing about surveys is you get to shape the questions to guarantee the answer you are looking for. If that does not work you can still do a “Lewandowsky” and make stuff up. Liars, damn liars and statisticians.

    However when it comes to quantifying the GHE you can get much nearer reality using thermodynamics than by invoking radiative transfer equations.

  17. Skiphil said

    This can use some serious ‘Fisking’ for those so inclined:

    (h/t Ruth Dixon at Bishop Hill)

    Scientific Amercan blog spouts Lewandowsky propaganda

    “…Unfortunately it’s not easy to disabuse people of a conspiracy mindset since as the article notes, presenting evidence to the contrary only makes them more convinced of the diabolical success of the supposed conspiracy. The one thing we can do is to at least point out to climate change denialists how their beliefs are in fact conspiratorial. Demonstrate the features that climate change conspiracies share with 9/11 denial and Pearl Harbor revisionism….”

  18. ChrisinGa said

    “Understanding the implications of denier poor reading comprehension with respect to conspiracy theory ideation”

    Oh! … through interpretive dance. TM – Sera


    ” I can make up anything I want to, because my publishers are sycophantic morons” … through interpretive dance

  19. Brian H said

    Notice how no one responds? There’s a reason. What do you suppose it is?

  20. Yes! Finally someone writes about rap album commercial.

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