• Why the Minority isn’t Always Correct

    In almost any discussion about science where there is a mainstream viewpoint and a contrarian viewpoint,  someone on the contrarian side will invariable bring up Galileo. Usually stating that the majority of people thought one way, Galileo thought a different way, he was prosecuted for his thoughts, and then it turns out he was correct.

    Yes, that is all 100% correct. However, there’s one thing that is rarely mentioned. Galileo had evidence on his side and the majority did not.

    A recent paper shed some interesting light on the contrarian research into global warming.

    I’m going to try a new way of reviewing peer-reviewed research and your opinions will be appreciated. Here, we will examine the abstract in detail, using support from the paper and other sources. I do this, because the abstract is frequently freely available and the thing that most non-scientists read anyway. But in most cases, the methods and data that inform the abstract are more important and rarely mentioned in the abstract.

    The title of this paper is “Learning from mistakes in climate research“[1].

    Among papers stating a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), 97 % endorse AGW. What is happening with the 2%of papers that reject AGW? We examine a selection of papers rejecting AGW. An analytical tool has been developed to replicate and test the results and methods used in these studies; our replication reveals a number of methodological flaws, and a pattern of common mistakes emerges that is not visible when looking at single isolated cases. Thus, real-life scientific disputes in some cases can be resolved, and we can learn from mistakes. A common denominator seems to be missing contextual information or ignoring information that does not fit the conclusions, be it other relevant work or related geophysical data. In many cases, shortcomings
    are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup. Other typical weaknesses include false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics. We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny. The merit of replication is highlighted and we discuss
    how the quality of the scientific literature may benefit from replication.

    So let’s see what we have in store for us.

    Among papers stating a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), 97 % endorse AGW. What is happening with the 2%of papers that reject AGW?

    This is a well known issue. The climate debate rages on in the media and politics, but in science, it’s pretty much a settled issue. It is known that many of the authors of contrarian papers are being employed by the fossil fuel industry as well… so there’s that to consider.

    The 97% figure has been confirmed by 3 studies; Oreskes 2004, Anderegg, 2010, and Cook 2013. Another project (not peer-reviewed) found even less support for the rejection of human-caused global warming. Several attempts have been made to discredit the studies, but these attempts do not actually discuss the survey of climate scientists or the papers themselves. They (as we see in a lot of evolution discussions) are more concerned with the definitions than the data. Keep in mind we’re talking about over 14,000 abstracts and 1200 surveys from the authors of those papers.

    We examine a selection of papers rejecting AGW. An analytical tool has been developed to replicate and test the results and methods used in these studies; our replication reveals a number of methodological flaws, and a pattern of common mistakes emerges that is not visible when looking at single isolated cases.

    And here’s the key bit right here. By examining the contrarian articles, in detail, common issues were found. Think back to the review I did on the Seralini study on rats fed GMO corn. That paper was flawed in multiple ways and eventually retracted. Likewise, the papers of the global warming deniers also seem to be flawed in multiple ways.

    The authors here examined the contrarian papers and grouped them into categories based on how the papers’ conclusions were drawn. The authors then looked for patterns and comparisons between the conclusions and any problems in the papers themselves.

    Let me be clear, when examining a scientific paper, one needs to be an expert or something very close to it. As I mentioned in the Seralini review, there are a lot of mistakes that are very, very subtle and unless you are looking for them and aware of how all of the pieces of a scientific study fit together, then they are easy to miss.

    For example, in the Seralini paper, he started with rats that are specifically bred to get tumors after two years. If you didn’t know that about the rat type, you’d miss that mistake.

    Thus, real-life scientific disputes in some cases can be resolved, and we can learn from mistakes.

    I love this line. This is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in a peer-reviewed paper.

    However, the authors here make a mistake. They assume that people want to be correct. That they want to write papers that use correct science and give valid conclusions based on real evidence. As we saw above, that is not the case. Some people have made careers out of the peddling lies to anyone who will listen… especially those with deep pockets full of money. I cite here the above mentioned Dr. Soon, the fellows and authors at the Discovery Institute, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, and many others who put personal profit above truth.

    Still, this is the ideal and if we can teach regular people about this, then these charlatans will have less influence over them.

    A common denominator seems to be missing contextual information or ignoring information that does not fit the conclusions, be it other relevant work or related geophysical data. In many cases, shortcomings are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup. Other typical weaknesses include false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics.

    I wanted to list the discrepancies discovered in these papers.

    • improper hypothesis testing
    • incorrect statistics
    • a neglect of contextual information, such as relevant literature or other evidence at variance with their conclusions.
    • Several papers also ignored relevant physical interdependencies and consistencies.
    • There was also a typical pattern of insufficient model evaluation, where papers failed to compare models against independent values not used for model development (out-of-sample tests).
    • Insufficient model evaluation is related to over-fitting, where a model involves enough tunable parameters to provide a good fit regardless of the model skill. Another term for over-fitting is Bcurve fitting, and several such cases involved wavelets, multiple regression, or long-term persistence null models for trend testing.
    • More stringent evaluation would suggest that the results yielded by several papers on our list would fail in a more general context. Such evaluation should also include tests for selfconsistency or applying the methods to synthetic data for which we already know the answer.
    • False dichotomy was also a common theme, for example, when it is claimed that the sun is the cause of global warming, leaving no room for GHGs even though in reality the two forcings may coexist.
    • In some cases, preprocessing of the data emphasized certain features, leading to logical fallacies.
    • Other issues involved ignoring tests with negative outcomes (cherry picking) or assuming untested presumed dependencies; in these cases, proper evaluation may reduce the risk of such shortcomings.
    • Misrepresentation of statistics leads to incorrect conclusions, and contamination by external factors caused the data to represent aspects other than those under investigation.
    • The failure to account for the actual degrees of freedom also resulted in incorrect estimation of the confidence interval.
    • One common factor of contrarian papers included speculations about cycles, and the papers reviewed here reported a wide range of periodicities.
    • Spectral methods tend to find cycles, whether they are real or not, and it is no surprise that a number of periodicities appear when carrying out such analyses.
    • Several papers presented implausible or incomplete physics, and some studies claimed celestial influences but suffered from a lack of clear physical reasoning: in particular, papers claiming to report climate dependence to the solar cycle length (SCL). Conclusions with weak physics basis must still be regarded as speculative.

    That’s quite a list of problems. It is across many papers though. Let me let the authors speak a little further on this.

    Perhaps the most common problem with the cases examined here was missing contextual information (the prosecutor’s fallacy (Wheelan 2013)), and there are several plausible explanations for why relevant information may be neglected. The most obvious explanation is that the authors were unaware of such facts. It takes experts to make proper assessments, as it requires scientific skills, an appreciation of both context and theory, and hands-on experience with computer coding and data analysis.

    I mentioned this almost continuously in my review of the anti-evolution book Darwin’s Doubt. The ignorance or purposeful rejection of papers that discredit an author’s claim is not good science.

    When I was doing this work, I was told, to definitely report those papers, then be prepared to explain why they don’t apply or why the original author is wrong… in detail. Ignoring them just makes it appear one has something to hide.

    The authors want to report on another problem that I see in multiple fields.

    There were also a group of papers (Gerlich and Tscheuschner 2009; Lu 2013; Scafetta 2013) that were published in journals whose target topics were remote from climate research. Editors for these journals may not know of suitable reviewers and may assign reviewers who are not peers within the same scientific field and who do not have the background knowledge needed to carry out a proper review.

    In my own work, I reported on the engineer who promoted an ID paper examining fossils in a architecture and design journal. Of course, the journal also posted a disclaimer about the article.

    Continuing with the final bit of the abstract.

    We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny. The merit of replication is highlighted and we discuss how the quality of the scientific literature may benefit from replication.

    This. A thousand times this. Science is not settled. However, like evolution and GMOs and vaccines and gravity and Relativity, it would take a major upheaval to show that all the previous work is wrong, evidence that a new idea is correct and it perfectly explains everything seen up to that point with the same accuracy as the original idea.

    Think of it like this, Newton’s ideas about motion were shown to be wrong by Einstein’s Relativity. However, in the vast majority of the situations, Newton’s equations are still useful. This is because the difference between Newton’s equations and Einstein’s equations (in most situations) is so small as to be almost unmeasurable. That’s the kind of revolution we’re talking about here.

    What’s really interesting is that these revolutions have occurred in evolution. The introduction of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, for example.

    There’s another issue that I want to bring up which applies to these contrarian papers (in climate change and evolution discussions). That is that many authors are so busy trying to discredit the current mainstream position that they don’t actually have a position of their own. We see this a lot from ID proponents. They will absolutely refuse to engage with another ID proponent who says something that they disagree with. Likewise with climate change.

    For example, here’s one discovered by the authors of skeptical science.

    These kinds of flip-flops are common on Anthony Watts’ blog, which had a very schizophrenic six month period:

    And that’s when he’s not arguing that the surface temperature record is so contaminated that we don’t even know if the planet is warming.  Or that this supposedly unreliable data shows cooling.

    That’s just one example of the climate change denial process. I could list dozens more flip-flops just like it. One cannot argue that increasing carbon dioxide is good for the plant life of the planet and, at the same time, argue that humans are too insignificant to cause global change. Yet, I’ve seen this same argument multiple times.

    In conclusion, we see that the minority opinion against current mainstream scientific ideas is often heavily flawed.

    While that does not mean that the mainstream scientific opinion is correct, it also does not mean that any contrarian viewpoints are correct.

    What does make the mainstream science viewpoint correct is evidence, lots and lots of evidence. Thousands of papers with different variables, different models, and different methods all supporting the same idea. Climate change is happening and caused by humans. Evolution happens and common descent is correct. Vaccines are safe. GMOs are safe.

    _________________________________

    [1] Apologies for my lack of normal citation, my PC has been in ICU at the Microsoft Store since the Windows 10 install process destroyed it. Of course, a moron at that store further complicated the issue by, in two clicks, destroying my entire data drive which was originally fine.

     

    References

    Anderegg WRL, Prall JW, Harold J, Schneider SH (2010) Expert credibility in climate change. PNAS 107:12107–12110

    Cook J et al (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. Environ Res Lett 8:024024

    Oreskes N (2004) The scientific consensus on climate change. Science 306

    Category: BiologyClimatologyEvolutionfeaturedGMOResearchScienceSkepticism

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    Article by: Smilodon's Retreat

    • im-skeptical

      I’d like to see more of the kind of reviews that you describe. Unfortunately, it seems the the people who are well qualified to do it don’t want to waste their time on material that is seriously flawed.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Hmmm… there’s a thought. I’m a lot weaker in climate change than in evolution and biology. If there’s a modeling issue, I’m likely to miss it.

        Perhaps take a look at realclimate.org. I know they review papers occasionally.

        • im-skeptical

          I see there’s some good information there. Thanks.

          • josh

            realclimate is very handy, sometimes for debunking the latest skeptic line, but often just for a glimpse into the actual ongoing scientific issues within climate science. Unfortunately they don’t update all that often.

            • im-skeptical

              This is something I don’t usually follow closely. But I saw the accusations made against Mann, and did some of my own investigation and realized how dishonest those people are. I knew there were climate science deniers, but I started to see that there is a devoted following, almost like a religious cult. You can’t convince them with evidence. But of course, I’m not the best one to do that. As an engineer (EE), I have a pretty good grounding in science, but not climate science. So it’s good to have a decent resource like this, even if it’s not current.

            • I really think it is a hive mindset.

              All you need to do is point this out to show the problems:

              As I said in a recent facebook argument with a denier:

              “Means we will have to go through a long and protracted argument about things of which NEITHER of us are experts. In any other field, you would simply defer to the consensus of experts, acknowledging that certain claims are open to revision. You happily accept consensus science everywhere else in your life, but because of the politics and political media embroiled (which is overtly funded by those big corporations, incidentally), you cherry pick what science you want to believe.

              I find this STAGGERING.”

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              That too, is well said.

              Evolution is rejected by creationists who want God in place of it.
              Climate change is rejected by big oil companies.
              The dangers of tobacco is rejected by (shockingly) tobacco companies.
              The dangers of lead in the environment was rejected by (again) big oil.
              The near universal acceptance of GMOs are rejected by the Organic Crop industry.
              Vaccines are rejected by a single person who falsely linked autism and a specific vaccine in order to get his new, recently developed vaccine in the market place.

              Do you see a pattern?

              Money and control.

              That’s it. All of the rejection of science, since Galileo and before, has been about power and control (money). And the people with poor reasoning skills and who make no effort to understand a topic (no, reading peer-review in order to find quotes to discredit the same paper is not “studying”) are letting all the science deniers get away with it.

            • Like like like.

              Are we on facebook?

            • Geoff_Roberts

              For some balance to your hyperbole, here is a sobering statement (in my opinion, of course) from Garth Paltridge:

              “We have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis for society’s respect for scientific endeavour.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Has anyone reported on Garth’s views since the “pause” was shown to be anything but a pause.

              You do know that’s what that quote is about right?

              Just like a creationist. Dueling quotes. Still no evidence. You do know that the quote is not from a peer-reviewed source right?

            • Geoff_Roberts

              It is only a “statement,” Smilodon. I never claimed it to be evidence or a peer-reviewed quote. And I’m not going to even get into the pause debate with you.

              Again, you show your true colors with your defensive posture, hyperbole, and unwillingness to acknowledge any statement, opinion, or evidence that doesn’t 100% capitulate to your CAGW pseudo-religion. You’re the “creationist” here with your unflinching, knee-jerk overreaction to anyone or anything who challenges your alarmist agenda.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              EVIDENCE! You still haven’t provided any.

              If you want to talk about science, then you need to learn what it is and how it works. That’s all I care about.

              When I see a thousand word article and there’s basically no science it, then you cannot possible take it seriously. If you do, then you have a problem and you’re the exact person that I’ve been writing about recently.

              Sorry.

              You won’t get into the pause debate because you don’t have any evidence of a pause and I have (already) shown that the pause wasn’t a real pause. It was only apparent in some data sets due to ocean warming. But the temperatures are still going on.

              Three of the top five (including the two hottest) are within the last 4 years.
              Nine of the top ten are within the last 12 years.

              But you don’t accept the evidence, because you aren’t interested in it. You say you review other sources, but only to look for problems with them. You don’t think about the evidence.

              Let me ask this. What happens if you’re right? Nothing. Nothing happens if you are correct.

              What happens if I’m right? If we do nothing, then it’s pretty much global devastation.

              What happens if I’m right and we try to mitigate? Then we give lots of people jobs, increase our technology and our knowledge.

              Besides, wouldn’t it be a damn shame if we cleaned up the air, stopped water pollution, prevented deaths from mine collapse and refinery/rig explosions, stopped pumping toxins into every source we can imagine, cleaned up the oceans, and learned to take care of our planet all for nothing.

              It’s sad that is what people like you want to prevent.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              I have no problem cleaning up pollution. I do have a big problem with our government shutting down vital industries, destroying our economy, and taking even more centralized power to coerce the CAGW agenda on everyone. But I’m sure you have no problem with that as you and those like-minded “know” what’s better for us simpleton citizens.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Oh hell, here you go inserting politics into it.

              Is having mandatory insurance coverage better or not? Sure it is, yet we have to have it mandated because otherwise people can’t get access to it.

              Is having clean water mandated? Sure it is, because otherwise companies have no problem dumping toxins into the water people are drinking.

              Is having fewer people die because of coal mine collapse, rig explosions, refinery fires, and the rest better? You don’t seem to think so. I disagree with you here. I think it’s better.

              And what’s really funny is that you don’t see to understand how few people are employed in the oil industry and how many could be employed by things like solar installers and wind installers. Not to mention infrastructure improvements, which the industry hasn’t done, but maybe the government should mandate.

              I don’t know what you think about these issues, but the trend seems to be mostly libertarian. Sorry.

            • hyperzombie

              I have no problem with this comment except for the part comparing solar to oil. Oil is not used to generate much power in NA, it is a transportation fuel mostly.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              True. I should have said the “fossil fuel” industry instead. Apologies.

            • Doc Bill

              “Simpleton.”

              That I agree with.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              For some balance I invite you to read a reasoned article (in my opinion) from a “lukewarmer,” like I am.

              http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/what-the-climate-wars-did-to-science.aspx

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              That’s a “lukewarmer”!?!??!?! LOL

              If that’s a lukewarmer, I’d hate to see what you calla denier.

              You know what else I noticed? That there isn’t a single statement about science in that entire article. It’s a Gish Gallop of strawmen, ad homs, and other logical fallacies.

              That paper that is so cited by everyone on butterflies? I’ve never heard of it. And the author states that more studies need to be done. Linking to a denier like Watt, that’s classy for a “lukewarmer”. And the link contains lots of claims, but no evidence for those claims.

              If you think that scientists are making money off of climate research and grants, then you haven’t the faintest clue as to what science is like or how it works.

              If you think that the article you posted is evidence, then there is no point in talking any further. You have no idea what evidence even is, much less the ability to judge it properly.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              There you go again, Smilodon. Your hyper-reactionism is very predictable. You must have a lot invested in this.

              I never claimed the article was evidence. It was only a lukewarmer’s opinion to provide some balance to the two extremes in the debate. Of course, you won’t be able to read it without hyperventilating but I was interested in hearing Jonathan’s response.

              The article was written by a “lukewarmer” and reviewed many points in the climate debate but you are so skewed to the alarmist extreme you are not able to even reasonably examine anything or anyone who doesn’t 100% buy-into catastrophic AGW.

              Watts runs one of the most read blogs (if not THE most read) on the climate change debate so referring to him shouldn’t be controversial (unless your a CAGW zealot).

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              There you go again. You assume that anything popular is automatically correct. Watt is wrong. Hell, look at the EVIDENCE I posted in this very article. That’s Watt who has no idea why climate change is wrong, he just knows it’s wrong.

              Watt, may be popular, but so is Jenny McCarthy and she’s wrong about vaccines.

              Geoff, here’s your logic, so far.
              “People are mean, so they must be wrong.”
              “People are popular, so they must be right.”

              Maybe you don’t even think they are right (though the evidence suggests that you do), but that’s the point of the entire article you’re commenting on. Just because they are the minority or popular or mean or anything else doesn’t mean they are right or wrong. Only the evidence can say that. And the evidence is that the papers in the study are wrong and that climate change is happening.

    • Geoff_Roberts

      This is a flawed, biased study. It was rejected by 5 journals before they finally found someone to publish it. Here are the journals which rejected this study:

      Climate Research
      Climatic Change
      Earth System Dynamics Discussion
      Nature Climate Change
      Environmental Research Letters.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        “flawed, biased study” is not the same thing as “rejected by 5 journals”

        Why is it flawed and/or biased?

        There are plenty of reasons that a journal chooses to reject a study without it being flawed. For example, the paper may not meet the specific focus of the journal. It’s not a research article, so maybe Climate Research would reject it for that. The paper may not have a group of reviewers or editors that are comfortable with the specific content.

        Unless you can provide evidence that the paper was rejected BECAUSE it was flawed or biased, then you have to provide evidence that the paper is flawed or biased.

        I find this tactic pretty interesting. You choose not to talk about how the paper is flawed, but instead try to poison the well.

        • Geoff_Roberts

          From the Climate Research Journal:

          “The manuscript is not a scientific study. It is just a summary of
          purported errors in collection of papers, arbitrarily selected by the
          authors.”

          From another journal that rejected the study and why:

          http://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/4/C400/2013/esdd-4-C400-2013.pdf

          • SmilodonsRetreat

            Which is exactly what I said. It’s a review article and not new research.

            For the link… did you read it??!??!?!?

            The editor is saying that (paraphrase), “Science has good models and correct physics, therefore this paper isn’t really needed” And I quote “Rather than concentrating
            on ignorant mistakes made in prior work, it would help to identify the key parametersin those studies and justify a priori what the value of those should be.”

            So, again. It was rejected NOT because it was flawed, but one it wasn’t new research and two it’s beating a dead horse. Climate denial is as dead as Intelligent Design.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              More from the same editor:

              “Second, much of the discussion in the appendix is written in an inflammatory and insufficiently supported fashion. Removal of subjective characterization would make the paper stronger by reducing the verbosity and of more lasting value by focusing on scientific issues. It is entirely irrelevant whether the authors of some papers also distribute pamphlets to school headmasters, just as it is scientifically irrelevant what the political affiliation or religion or hair color of authors are.

              Third, while much is made that so-and-so made mistakes, much of that characterization relies solely on the authors’ stated opinion.”

              More “opinion” and not fact.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Ummm… no. The CHARACTERIZATION of the people who reject science and try to influence people is opinion.

              Fine, but their papers are still flawed. Climate change still occurs. I agree with the editor, that the author’s non-science work shouldn’t really be used against them. Likewise, THESE authors opinions should not be used against THEM.

              You can’t have it both ways.

              Still, that’s all in the appendix.

              Tell me. Have you read the paper in question? Have you found a flaw in the paper? No? I’m shocked.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              How many times do I need to repeat this? One editor stated the articles chosen in the review were arbitrarily selected. The other editor said “…while much is made that so-and-so made mistakes, much of that
              characterization relies solely on the authors’ stated opinion.” Did that get through? Opinion and not fact?

              Here’s more from the same critique:

              “Indeed, as currently structured there is no paper in this
              paper, i.e. there is no actual science (hypothesis, testing of a hypothesis) in the main body.”

              I haven’t yet found why the other journals rejected the review(study).

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this to you.

              Those 38 papers are still flawed. This was intended as a review of the mistakes made by contrarian papers.

              Here, let me quote from the paper that you didn’t read.

              “The sample was drawn based on expert opinion according to the criterionof being contrarian papers with high public visibility and withresults that are not in agreement with the mainstream view.The sample was highly selective and meant for replication and the identification of errors rather being a representative statistical sample reflecting the volume of scientific literature. One objection to the selection of the cases here may be that they introduce an asymmetry through imperfect sampling; however, the purpose was not to draw general conclusions aboutthe entire body of scientific literature but to learn from mistakes.”

              I will also remind you that the same editor specifically mentioned that the contrarian papers are WRONG.

              Just like a damn creationist. Wanting to find any possible mistake anywhere in the paper, in order to make their own opinion seem correct. Luckily, science doesn’t work that way.

              You seem to think that this paper is supposed to show that human caused climate change is correct. I don’t know why. That’s not the intention. It’s not the author’s stated intention.

              This paper is looking at contrarian viewpoints and explaining the flaws that they are using, which are the same as the logical flaws used by all anti-science groups.

              Regardless of this paper being published or not. The papers they cite are still flawed. Still wrong. And climate change is still happening. Which is the entire point of the OP.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Wow, Smilodon. You are one dogmatic ideologue. You also have a habit of putting words in my mouth. I never said this paper attempts to show that AGW is correct.

              What it does attempt to show is since studies that demonstrate CAGW are incorrect are obviously flawed (“obviously” in the opinion of the authors) then let’s discuss what mistakes they made so they can learn from them as we don’t make mistakes! A bit self-serving, don’t you think? And as one editor stated, there is no science in this paper. It is merely the authors’ opinion. If you’re OK admitting this is opinion and not science then I would be in agreement with you.

              And the pause has now reached 18 years and 8 months!

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Not obviously in the opinion of the authors. Flawed and ignored by 98% of all climatologists. This articles also lists those reasons, in great detail. With, (because you still haven’t seem to have read the paper) statistical support for those claims.

              Yes, there is science in the paper. It’s what I and the authors said. Shall I quote it to you again?

              “We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and
              contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny. The merit of
              replication is highlighted and we discuss

              how the quality of the scientific literature may benefit from replication.”

              As far as putting words in people’s mouths, I would suggest, kettle, thou art black.

              I never said this paper was entirely opinion. That’s you. I disagree with that claim entirely. Did you read what I wrote? Here, let me quote it for you again….

              “I agree with the editor, that the author’s non-science work shouldn’t really be used against them.”

              However, comma, you still have yet to understand that the opinions of the character of authors don’t matter. The statistical analysis as shown in this paper (and thousands of others, about 1,400 in the last few years IIRC) show that climate change is occurring.

              Sure, if you cherry pick data (as was described in this paper), then you can generate almost any trend you want. But if you look at everything, the trend is unmistakably. The Earth is warming. We’ve lost trillions of tons of ice to melting. And the extreme weather conditions have been statistically shown to be caused by global warming.

              If YOU can point out, in detail, the flaws in this paper… which are directly related to the science as described in the target papers, then what you are doing is attempting to show that climate change is not occurring.

              But, no, you’re too busy trying to cast doubt on this paper to actually read what climatologists really say.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              This will be my last post on this thread as we are not getting anywhere. I’ll just reiterate that I believe (along with several climate publications which rejected this paper) this is a flawed, biased study. This paper only chose studies to critique that expressed skepticism regarding AGW as examples of “flawed” studies. Here is what another editor/reviewer said about the review:

              “It is also quite remarkable that all the papers selected by these authors can be qualified in some way or another as papers that express skepticism to anthropogenic climate change. I wonder why is this so?”

              If, instead, this paper chose to review studies with differing conclusions or a statistical sampling then the paper would be more credible and useful.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Of course we’re not getting anywhere because you have not read the actual paper and do not seem to understand the authors’ purpose in spite of me having quoted it for you several times.

              The purpose was NOT to examine climate change, but to show the flaws in contrarian studies. And show a pattern of mistakes that result in those contrarian studies.

              Without a basic understanding of an author’s purpose, then you will always make mistakes in your comments.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              I’ll need to respond here as you have so badly micharacterized my positions on the paper.

              Number one, I read the damn report.

              Number two, I’m fully aware the paper had nothing or very little to do with examining climate change itself.

              Number three, I fully understand the author’s purpose but I disagree with the methodology used in the paper (along with several climate journals).

              I almost have to think your argumentation style purposely puts statements and positions onto your opponent that you know are untrue. You’ve made several false and rather odd assumptions about my positions that you have no support for.

              For example, how would you know if I read the damn report? You assume or accuse me of this several times because I disagree with the paper and your conclusions?

              You also have the very counterproductive habit of mixing up facts with opinion. Your opinion that this paper is sound is just that – your opinion. It is also the opinion of several climate journals (as well as mine) that this paper is flawed. Yet you continue to prattle on how I don’t understand the issues involved here. I fully understand the issues regarding this report but I come to differing conclusions than you as I side with the climate journals that reject this report.

              Your dismissal of this fact that several journals and even more reviewers believe this report to be flawed and your continued mischaracterizations of my positions demonstrates your complete capitulation to climate change ideology.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Maybe you should write more clear then.

              It’s your opinion that the authors methodology was wrong. So, I’m curious what methodology would you use to select contrarian climatology papers to examine the various types of errors they promote?

              I assume you never read the report because you consistently mischaracterize it. Fine, you think it’s an opinion piece. You are wrong, because it’s a statistical examination of certain features of contrarian papers. Certain COMMENTS by the authors may be opinion, but the conclusions are not opinion. They are facts.

              Again, other than methodology for selecting papers, you have no evidence or support that the paper is flawed. I pointed out to you that the purpose of the paper was fulfilled by selecting those articles. I suspect that any of the articles that are contrarian could have been selected. You have not shown why the selection process is important to the stated purpose of the paper.

              I have also shown, through your own links, why the paper was rejected from two of the journals you list. In neither case do the words “flawed methodology” appear. In neither case do the words “flawed statistical analysis” appear. In neither case do the words “biased” appear.

              You are making up stuff to support your opinions. If you think that this paper is flawed, then you need to show it. Heck, you should write it up and submit it to the journal.

              As far as the rest, let’s just chalk it up t frustration with someone who so rejects reality that they can’t even begin to understand the concept.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              I think I write fairly clearly, Smilodon, it’s your dogmatic ideology that seems to interfere with rationally discussing a topic; so many incorrect assumptions about my positions.

              Since the main point of your last post seems to try to refute the paper was not flawed I will present evidence here to show otherwise. For brevity sake, I’m going to just list several comments made by various editors, reviewers and even one of the authors of the paper. You can read the sources from the link below:

              http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/08/lets-learn-from-mistakes/

              From Climate Research:

              “The opinion of one of the reviewers on our manuscript was “profoundly negative”, with a recommendation to reject it (29 June 2012)”

              “The manuscript is not a scientific study. It is just a summary
              of purported errors in collection of papers, arbitrarily selected by the authors.”

              “It is also quite remarkable that all the papers selected by these authors can be qualified in some way or another as papers that express skepticism to anthropogenic climate change. I wonder why is this so?”

              The same reviewer, also observed that “I guess that any one of us could collect their own favorite list of bad papers. My list would
              start with the present manuscript“, and remarked that “It may be published in a blog if the authors wish, but not in a scientific journal”.

              From Climatic Change journal:

              “Nonetheless, we have agreed with reviewers who have offered some serious sources of concern and have not been persuaded (one way or the other) by blog conversations. Some of the issues revolve around the use of case studies; others focus on the appropriateness of criticizing others’ work in a different journal wherein response would not be expected.”

              From Earth Systems Dynamics journal:

              its “structure“ since there was “no paper in this paper”, “no actual
              science (hypothesis, testing of a hypothesis) in the main body”, that the case studies were “inflammatory and insufficiently supported fashion”, “authors’ stated opinion”, and that R-scripts do “not reveal mistakes”.

              Next up – Nature Climate Change:

              poorly written” and that it failed “to adequately capture the importance of the project or convey its findings in an interesting and attractive manner”.

              Finally, from Environmental Research Letters:
              .
              ..”not sufficiently methodologically based for consideration as an ERL letter”

              I could list more, Smilodon, but I think I’ve made the point. It would definitely be fair to say the journals rejected the paper due to serious concerns and problems with the methodology of the paper along with other concerns as well.

              So you can see I’m not “making stuff up to support” my opinions as you falsely charge. My opinion coincides with all five journals that rejected the paper. Who is rejecting reality here? Is it possible, Smilodon, your advocacy for climate change and preconceived biases could be influencing your zealousness for a flawed paper as it aligns with your ideology?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              None of those things indicate a “flaw” in the paper.

              It’s a review paper. That’s what they do. It’s a common practice. What is the FLAW or BIAS in this paper? That’s what YOU said. Nothing you quote supports those claims.

              It may not contain new research. It may be aggressive and not really needed. But the science is not FLAWED.

              Again, I’ll point out that these reviewers seem to be saying that the science of climate change is correct as well.

              I thought you were going to flounce away.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              You mean there are no flaws in the paper other than “not sufficiently methodologically based”, “poorly written”, “R-scripts do not reveal mistakes”, “no paper in this paper”, “it is not a scientific study”, “and it’s quite remarkable that all the papers selected by these authors can be qualified in some way or another as papers that express skepticism to anthropogenic climate change.”

              Do we need to have a discussion of what the meaning of “flaw” is?

              Here’s what another reviewer said who also rejected the paper:

              “This paper makes two fundamental assumptions that are false. The
              first is that the science of climate change is “settled” and that this consensus cannot be questioned. The second, which therefore follows, is that anyone questioning this consensus does so willfully and malevolently (intentionally promoting ignorance).”

              Besides all the other flaws in the report, this paper was fundamentally flawed from the beginning as the author’s arbitrarily only chose studies that expressed skepticiscm in CAGW. The author’s biases are clear. Instead of looking at a wide range of studies or a statistical sampling and looking for errors the paper only focused on studies that came to conclusions the author’s disagree with.

              I agree with the 5 scientific journals that chose to reject this paper. You agree with the report (after finally finding a fringe journal to publish it) as it fits your preconceived ideology and ,conveniently, overlook the flaws and biases in the paper.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              God Bless America you are freaking dumb. You cannot possibly have read the paper.

              Here, let me QUOTE FROM THE PAPER…
              “The merit of replication, by reexamining old publications in order to assess their veracity, is obvious. Science is never settled, and both the scientific consensus and alternative hypotheses should be subject to ongoing questioning, especially in the presence of new evidence and insights. True and universal answers should, in principle, be replicated independently, especially if they have been published in the peer-reviewed.”

              Again, because you apparently don’t read anything I write or what the authors of the paper write.

              Let me quote from the paper AGAIN

              “What is happening with the 2 % of papers that reject AGW? We examine a selection of papers rejecting AGW. An analytical tool has been developed to replicate and test the results and methods used in these studies; our replication reveals a number of methodological flaws, and a pattern of common mistakes emerges that is not visible when looking at single isolated cases.”

              There. All your objects are refuted by actually text from the paper.

              You could contact the authors and then apply their statistical package to all the other 1400 paper that specifically support human caused global warming and see what happens.

              You are so desperate to find flaws with this paper, that you ignore what the authors stated purpose is.

              As far as what a flaw is… a flaw is a defect impairing legal soundness or validity (according to dictionary.com). We can ignore the “legal soundness”. So the question is validity. That is, are the conclusions of the author valid with respect to the hypothesis or set of questions they set out to answer.

              If one actually looks at what the authors intended to do, instead of making up stuff about what a “real” paper looks like, then the conclusion is valid. You might not like the conclusion, but that’s your problem, not the problem of the paper.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Ah, yes, the ad hominem attacks. Anyone who could disagree with your conclusions has to be “dumb,” right? So, the 5 scientific journals who rejected and criticized the paper are also, apparently, dumb. The dozens of reviewers and editors who found flaws in the paper and rejected it must also be dumb. I find it fascinating to observe the zealousness to defend and the willingness to overlook fundamental problems with any evidence that supports your ideology.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              No. It’s not an ad hominem… another example of your dumbness. I’m saying that you are dumb and here’s the evidence that shows it. I’m not saying that you’re wrong because you’re dumb. See… another example, you don’t know what an ad hom is.

              What I’m saying, is that what you think are flaws are not flaws because of the specific intended purpose of the paper. It is a “science research paper”? Of course not. That’s not the intent of the paper.

              This paper supports the exact claims that I’ve seen in dozens of reports on these contrarian papers, from dozens of other sources. This paper also shows examples of false contrarian “science”, which is the same as evolution denial, vaccine denial, and GMO denial. Using flawed studies to promote a false picture of reality. In this case, that global warming isn’t happening and that humans aren’t causing it anyway.

              Does that automatically mean that humans are causing global warming? Of course not. There’s plenty of other support for that. But, again, that’s not the intent of this paper.

              I don’t know what to tell you. But maybe a course in critical thinking would help? Maybe reading the actual paper, not with the intent to discredit, but with the intent to understand it? Because, it’s obvious to me and everyone who is reading this that you are not understanding this paper.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Your arrogance and fanaticism is off the charts. I don’t give a shit about this biased paper published in an obscure publication. I only argue with you about it because you are so intensely fanatical about defending it. You’ve repeatedly ignored the many editors and reviewers who rejected and found problems with this paper that I have documented. Tell me, Smilodon, are theses dozens of reviewers and editors who rejected this paper and went on record with their criticisms also dumb?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              For the third or fourth time, I agree with those reviewers. The paper is NOT a RESEARCH paper. Therefore it probably wouldn’t be included in a journal dedicated to research.

              You’ll note that I predicted that very thing prior to you posting the reviews.

              Were the authors over opinionated about certain aspects of the papers they reviewed? Probably. There’s rarely a place in peer-review for personal discussions.

              Now, you said that the paper was FLAWED and BIASED. You have yet to show that. I have shown that the authors did things the way they did because that was the precise purpose of the paper. Which you continue to have ignored. Because an editor thinks that the paper isn’t needed doesn’t mean it’s flawed. Because an editor thinks that they were mean doesn’t mean it’s flawed. You said it was flawed, step up and support it or just admit that you were wrong.

              You have yet to show how the paper was FLAWED. By this I mean that the conclusions are invalid because there is a flaw in the methods or data or conclusions based on those data and methods. Your one complaint is that they only looked at contrarian papers. Which, as I pointed out and quoted from the paper, is the entire purpose of the paper. It’s not a flaw to do what they said that they were going to do. I also pointed out where the authors do not say what you think and they do say that all papers should be subject to scrutiny and replication. Just as they did with the contrarian papers.

              I don’t know how many times I can explain this differently to you.

              YOU are the one who keeps yapping about it, not me. I am using evidence from the paper itself to show you that the authors had a specific goal, said specific things, and did what they set out to do. It seems that you have a problem with that. I don’t know way. Remember, you came here and haven’t supported your initial claim yet. So, either support it or just walk away.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              I understand perfectly what were the author’s very limited, stated intentions. But they didn’t even successfully produce a paper free of methodological errors within the very restricted scope of the paper.

              You are still ignoring many of the reasons why several journals rejected the paper. Some of the reasons may be due to an inappropriate fit with a particular publication as you mentioned. However, there were several comments regarding concerns about methodology (I call them flaws) as well. Why do you keep pretending these objections don’t exist?

              The Environmental Research Letters journal (which is a “lower threshold” discussion journal) rejected the paper not only because it’s “not a research Article in the ERL style” but also because of a ” “number of methodological concerns”. Did you catch that, Smilodon…”methodological concerns”?

              The Earth Systems Dynamics Discussion journal rejected the paper because the case studies were “inflammatory and insufficiently supported fashion”, “authors’ stated opinion”, and that R-scripts do “not reveal mistakes”. So the R-scripts employed in the paper didn’t work. Hmm, that sounds like a problem to me. The paper deals with opinion and the case studies were presented in an inflammatory and insufficiently supported fashion. More problems…are you catching this, Smilodon?

              The journal, Climate Research, rejected the paper as the reviewers didn’t like how the author’s of the paper arbitrarily selected papers to study. So, in their view the study was flawed from the very beginning. I perfectly understand this may have fit the author’s stated intentions but that doesn’t mean other scientists need to agree with the narrow intent of the paper.

              So, contrary to your claim that the paper just didn’t meet certain criteria to
              appear in a particular journal, many editors and reviewers found problems with the actual methodology used in the paper. It isn’t just about the author’s meeting their own criteria The author’s even failed in producing a paper within the limited scope of its stated intentions. You said in your last post you agree with the reviewers. Would that include their criticism of the methodology of the paper?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              So, you know what I went to the source. I went to the authors discussion of their review process. I guess you enjoy cherry picking.

              Let’s see what the authors discussion of the review process says (from here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/08/lets-learn-from-mistakes/)

              Here’s a discussion of the problem of getting papers about reproduced results published: http://downloads.royalsociety.org/events/2015/05/future-of-scholarly-scientific-communication-part-2/fssc3-am1.mp3

              The first journal (I’m reproducing them, because I have little hope you will follow the links and read them constructively), Climate Research, said exactly what I predicted would be the response. It’s not new research, so they weren’t interested. Again, not an unknown problem in science publishing. After this, the paper was revised.

              Next was Climate Change, because they authors felt that the response at Climate Research was more opinion based than anything else. The Climate Change journal replied with this “We have engaged our editorial team repeatedly (as well as a collection of referees), and the decision was not unanimous”

              They also replied that one criticism was of “criticizing others’ work in a different journal”. Of course, they also suggested that the paper was “intriguing” and suggested a different journal.

              Next up was Earth System Dynamics Discussion (ESDD). This is an interesting discussion, since the critical reviewer swaying the decision against the paper was Ross McKitrick, which, it so happens, was mentioned in the paper itself. So, we don’t really have to deal with that.

              Curiously, that’s the same paper that uses all the arguments you are using. “no paper in this paper”, “No actual science”, “case studies inflammatory”, “author’s opinion”, and the “R-scripts do “not reveal mistakes””.

              With that in mind, I can confidentially say that the purported errors need a lot more detailed explanation before I will consider them.

              Even further, the paper was revised again.

              Of course, Nature Climate Change responded with “potential of being a very important publication” and the “information in the Supplementary Material to be important, compelling, and well-prepsented”. Just and FYI, that Supplemental Material contains the R-codes. Feel free to download and examine it in detail.

              Another comment was “extensive discussion of the specific replication attempts in the supporting material, including computer code (written in R) that is available to the reader.”

              You are already aware of the negative comment. Yet, despite more positive reviews than negative, it was rejected again. Not uncommon.

              Next up, Environmental Research Letters which responded with “intriguing” but, as you are aware, concern about methodology and not in the ERL style

              no
              paper in this paper”, “no actual science (hypothesis, testing of a
              hypothesis) in the main body”, that the case studies were “inflammatory
              and insufficiently supported fashion”, “authors’ stated opinion”, and
              that R-scripts do “not reveal mistakes”. – See more at:
              http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/08/lets-learn-from-mistakes/#sthash.2pHQBMsm.dpuf
              Finally, it was published in TAAC.

              So, basically, this paper was found intriguing and some reviewers specifically like the things that you say are wrong with the paper. SO, what you are doing is using “opinion” to attempt to discredit a paper without understanding the purpose of the paper. You have not found flaws in it yourself. You cannot identify the flaws proposed by others.

              You instead, depend on the poor reviews of others to base your thoughts of the paper on. What do we call that? Oh yeah, Cherry picking. You ignore the positive reviews… and the reasons behind the negative reviews, to focus only on the fact that negative reviews exist. It is you, not me that is blindly pursuing this.

              I’ll AGAIN, let the authors speak to this.

              “Of course, we could have replicated papers following the mainstream, as pointed out in some comments, but that would not address the question why there are different answers.

              The important point was also to learn from mistakes. Indeed, we
              should always try to learn from mistakes, as trial and error often is an effective way of learning. There must also be room for disagreement and scholarly dialogue.

              Our selection suited this purpose as it would be harder to spot flaws in papers following the mainstream ideas. The chance of finding errors among the outliers is higher than from more mainstream papers. *Our hypothesis was that the chosen contrarian paper was valid* (SR’s emphasis), and our approach was to try to falsify this hypothesis by repeating the work with a critical eye.

              Colleagues can know exactly what has been done in our analyses and how the results have been reached with open-access data code such as R-scripts that were provided. They provide the recipe behind the conclusions.

              If we could find flaws or weaknesses, then we would be able to
              explain why the results were different from the mainstream. Otherwise, the differences would be a result of genuine uncertainty. Everybody makes mistakes and errors some times, but progress is made when we learn from trial and error. A scientists job is to be to-the-point and clear as possible; not cosy up to colleagues. So, is it really “inflammatory” to point out the weakness in other analyses?

              Hence, an emphasis on similarities and dissimilarities between the contrarian papers was a main subject in our study: Are there any similarities between these high-profile “contrarian” papers other than being contrarian? – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/08/lets-learn-from-mistakes/#sthash.2pHQBMsm.dpuf

              In conclusion. I reject your complaints for the reasons given. If you have further problems, I suggest you download the supplementary material, examine it in detail, and write a letter with your results to TAAC.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Talk about cherry picking! You “reject” complaints about the paper from other scientists, editors, and reviewers. Of course you do.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              And yet, you only promote those ideas from the same editors that agree with what you wish. That the paper is flawed.

              Yet many of those same editors and reviewers say that the paper is good and important.

              Who is correct?

              Well, let’s look at the paper itself. We can look at the paper and what it says and compare the data. It’s really easy.

              And when we do, we see that this paper says things that are true. The contrarian papers all have flaws. Those flaws undermine the contrarian papers’ claims. Which is the real issue here.

              The Earth is warming. The contrarian papers do not show that to be false and even if they did, there’s still almost 50 times as many papers that show the Earth is warming.

              What this paper does, in a peer-reviewed format (it WAS published you know), is shows how the same mistakes are made by various contrarian papers. As I mentioned, it’s the same kinds of mistakes made by creationists and anti-science people of all stripes. If you really read through all the articles I’ve written, you will see it over time. Which is what these authors did… a time series of contrarian papers. To show the consistent flaws.

              BTW: Since my last post on the subject I have found that another of the rejecting journals had a reviewer that was an author of a contrarian paper.

              I’m sorry Geoff… more and more this looks like it’s a fine paper that was unusually difficult to get published not for flaws in the paper, but the processes of science publishing itself. Which, again, I predicted before we started this.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              That’s right. Who is correct? I read reviews from scientists, editors, and reviewers who find significant problems with the paper and disagree with the methodology used as well (which I have documented). There are comments from some of the author’s of the 38 studies evaluated by this paper and they vigorously defend their studies and disagree with the conclusions reached by the paper. Neither you or I have the scientific expertise to evaluate which position or study is correct. You only think you do as you “know” the “right” conclusion before you even start.

              I also don’t trust one of the authors’ of the paper – John Cook (one of the author’s of the discredited 97% consensus “study”). He is much more of an activist than a scientist. Some of the other author’s of this paper are also “activists” in the sense of strongly promoting CAGW over unbiased science.

              Of course, you’ll disagree with me on much or all of this which is fine. However, I’ve stated before you have the habit of confusing your opinion with fact as I expect you will do again. Besides the technical problems with the paper, the entire premise is built on a faulty bias from the beginning. A paper which intends to evaluate studies that are obviously wrong (because they come to different conclusions than the authors’ of the paper) is biased and of little value. Why not evaluate studies from a range of conclusions and try to find errors in those studies? That would be a much more useful study but then wouldn’t fit the agenda objectives of the authors’ of the paper.

              These authors had a biased agenda from the beginning. I trust the comments from the editors and other scientists that disagree with the “analysis” in this paper. Of course, you’re welcome to have a different “opinion.”

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              Your opinion is meaningless to the science as mine is. I’ll point out that you identify some authors as “activists” whereas I am pointing out that other authors are economists.

              Of course you disagree with me and this paper. You’ve already made your mind up. I could no more convince you than I can convince Rex of evolution. You don’t care about the evidence, you just fumble around trying to find things that are wrong to support your ideas. I’ve already pointed out, in significant detail, why your thoughts on this paper are flawed. You have yet to support your claim that the paper is flawed.

              Again (second time for this one), for every reviewer that didn’t like it. there was one that did. The one who said the methods were flawed is an author who was criticized in the paper and who made a very basic mistake in their article.

              As far as “who is qualified”… I am qualified. No, I’m not a climatologist, but you don’t trust them either. I’m as qualified as anyone to review papers. I study them in detail. I have spent years learning the fundamentals on these things. When I don’t know, I ask… my most recent post, I talked to the lead author about the paper in question.

              So, I do consider myself qualified to review a paper and judge it on its merits. I really don’t care if you disagree or not.

              So let’s run down the list shall we.
              You say there is a flaw in the methods. You have not supported that with your own ideas. You have been shown where the authors intentions were do exactly what they set out to do.

              You say it is biased. Just because people have an idea doesn’t mean it’s a valid idea. I agree, it’s biased in favor of reality. That seems to be only a problem in your book.

              You said that the R-scripts are flawed. You haven’t examined them, you haven’t run them, so you don’t know. You can only trust one person who didn’t like them. A person who happens to be an economist (not a programmer or a climatologist) and who happens to have a paper being criticized.

              You said that the authors were opinionated. I would agree with that. However, it does not affect the science of what they did. Your argument is “They talk mean, therefore they are wrong.” Which even an 8-year-old will see as not valid.

              You still don’t understand the purpose of the paper which is to show how flawed papers make the same mistakes over and over again. There are patterns to the flaws in the contrarian papers.

              And let me be clear. Even if this paper was never published. Even if the authors R-Script didn’t work. Even if the authors were complete jerks (which they aren’t). The contrarians papers they looked at ARE STILL WRONG.

              It’s that simple.

            • Well said @SmilodonsRetreat:disqus – I would like to see @Geoff_Roberts:disqus respond to this.

            • As one commenter has said:

              “The lead author gave a very interesting description on Real Climate of the difficulty the authors had in having this new paper published. It would appear that analysing why contrarian papers are wrong and then publishing the findings is, amazingly, not a normal way to progress science.

              Given how useful this analysis is (a point even made by some of the reviewers!) it was a most peculiar reaction and suggests that the scientific community as a whole are, to some degree, their own worse enemies when dealing with a fast-moving existential threat like climate change.”

              You do also realise, Geoff_Roberts, that the reason that it was rejected in the first two was because the reviewer who held sway was an author of a paper ciriticised in this review who did not declare conflict of interest!

              http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=18658

              And as another editor who rejected it said:

              “The root logical flaw in many of the papers […rebutted by Benestad et al…] is that showing a statistical correlation between some non-CO2 variable and some observed climate time series somehow disproves the hypothesis that CO2 is a driver of climate change. This is as silly as saying the cost of my sneakers is correlated with how fast I run and therefor I have invalidated the hypothesis that training makes me run the 100 yard dash faster. Do we really need 70 pages of text and two dozen R routines to recognize the logical problem here?

              And therein lies the real problem. The climate science community has strong theory (dating back more than a century) and good, physics-based models that underly the attribution and prediction endeavors and these guide the interpretation of observations and their statistical characterization (i.e. what the null hypothesis is). If one ignores that foundation as most of the studies being criticized in this submission do, then one is left with unconstrained statistical analyses or curve fitting exercises that have no clear plausible, physically viable explanation. The reality is that many of the authors whose work is being criticized are on the record as thinking that either climate theory and/or climate models are fundamentally flawed, hence the adopt the kind of approach which leads them to conclusions that are in opposition to the vast majority of climate scientists. Again, this can be said in two sentences. (Final editor decision, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., CC BY 3.0)”

              Which is to say it was rejected as being unnecessary because most climate scientists see the source papers (heralded by deniers no less) as silly and not worthy of such a response!

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Yes, some of the authors of the studies “evaluated” did defend their methodologies. And some of the reviewers comments were positive. However, it was still up to the editors of the journals in question to make the final call to publish the paper. You know the results.

              This study was fatally biased from the beginning when the authors’ only chose studies they “knew” were “wrong” and then set out to show how there were wrong. I’m not comfortable with that biased premise for a paper. Are you?

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              I’m perfectly fine with it. Do I need to post the authors stated purpose again?

              Now, if the authors had said that the purpose of the paper was to show global warming is correct, then only looked at papers that said “no, it’s not”, then it would be a problem.

              Did you happen to notice where the hypothesis was that all the studied papers were actually correct? Of course not.

            • Absolutely yes. Absolutely. This paper was designed, in my eyes, to be a one stop shop of criticism of the very source papers that it deals with. For example, if I was a physicist and people started decrying gravity because of a bunch of papers (often not even written by physicists) and these papers were swaying public opinion that mainstream physics was flawed, or being used to defend that notion, then I would want to set about putting those papers right.

              There are many people on both sides who do not know of the weaknesses of these pieces, and this point sit out.

              That is not biased in any particularly meaningful way. It wears its objectives on its sleeves. Why is there discrepancy in this data and this data? Aah, this data is flawed in this way.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Jonathan, would you be comfortable with a study where a group of “denier” activists (to use your terms) arbitrarily chose a few dozen studies that were identified as wrong because of their pro-CAGW positions (they must be wrong because of their incorrect conclusions!) and then evaluate why they came to the wrong conclusions? Would you have any problems accepting a study like this as unbiased science?

            • I wouldn’t have a problem. Bad, faulty studies need signposting and highlighting.

              What conclusions you would draw on a macro scale would depend on lots of things, including sample/representative size.

              Nothing wrong at all with pointing out bad science.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Of course, it’s really pointless to continue this conversation. However, I’ve been doing more digging and the stench regarding this paper just gets worse and worse.

              I was already familiar with one of the authors of this paper, the discredited John Cook, but not so much with controversial (to say the least), Stephan Lewandowsky. First of all, he’s a psychologist not a climate scientist. He is also a biased activist much more than a scientist. I’m not even going to get into the details of his scandals as I don’t want to start another long-winded debate with a zealous alarmist (you).

              But then you make the disingenuous statement, “you don’t care about the evidence, you just fumble around trying to find things that are wrong to support your ideas.” Spoken as a true quasi-religious zealot. You are the one dismissing evidence. You also mischaracterize that all of the criticisms of flaws in the paper are only from authors of the articles studied. That is simply not true. You also dismiss the obvious biases of the authors’ involved as they fit your ideological agenda.

              While you may have experience in evaluating papers (according to you), you don’t have the scientific background to decide which study is correct. And even if you did, there is still plenty of on-going debate regarding the various positions of scientists regarding climate change and conclusions reached in various studies.

              Again, you confuse your opinion of this study as fact. According to you, anyone who disagrees with your conclusion as to the validity of this paper doesn’t care about evidence, doesn’t understand the purpose of the paper, or is just “freaking dumb,” as you so “responsibly” stated. I have provided a lot of evidence as to the flaws of this paper. When coupled with the authors’ poor reputations and clear biases, this paper ought to be retracted, too, but no one really cares enough.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              So, you don’t think a psychologist should be involved in a paper that looks to explain why so many people do the wrong things?

              That’s very interesting. Do you also reject doctors from contributing to studies about genetically engineered disease prevention because they are not geneticists.

              Again, you’re not saying anything about the STUFF of the paper. You are attempting to discredit the authors.

              I’m still not convinced you’ve actually read it.

              If you want to talk about the STUFF of the paper. The science, the failures of the papers they mention, then fine. If not, if all you want to do is attempt to discredit people because they are “activists”, then I would suggest you deal with your own glaring hypocrisy first.

            • Geoff_Roberts

              Unbelievable, Smilodon! After yourself, personally, dismissing many or all of the editors and reviewers criticisms of the paper which I documented, your new defense tactic is to claim I’m only attempting to discredit the authors and not deal with the actual problems in the paper?

              As I’ve already said, I don’t give a damn about this obscure paper. But you do. You have a lot invested in it as it presumably supports your CAGW ideology. You dismiss legitamite criticisms from other scientists, editors and reviewers. You’re willing to overlook the authors’ clear biases and dubious reputation as the paper says what you want it to say. There is a lot of good work being produced by real scientists. This paper isn’t one of them.

            • SmilodonsRetreat

              It’s unbelievable to you. That’s not my problem.

              Again, the papers they studied were flawed. Nothing will change that.

              I’m willing overlook a lot of things when the evidence is conclusive.

              Your argument, which is totally flawed is “These authors are activists and biased therefore their paper is wrong.”

              So far, over several days and dozens of posts, you have not once talked about the actual science of climate change and the papers that were studied. You are so desperate to discredit this paper, you resort to the same ad hominem attacks you accuse me of.

              You are so like a creationist, it’s not even funny.

              You can walk away any tie you choose. but you’ haven’t in spite of several statements to the contrary.