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97 hours of consensus: caricatures and quotes from 97 scientists

Posted on 7 September 2014 by John Cook

Climate scientists from across the globe feature in our 97 Hours of Consensus campaign addressing one of the most significant and harmful myths about climate change. Each hour, beginning at 9am Sunday EST, September 7th, we'll publish a statement and playful, hand-drawn caricature of a leading climate scientist. Each caricature lists the scientists’ name, title, expertise and academic institution.

97 Hours of Consensus communicates the fact that 97% of climate scientists have concluded that humans are causing global warming. The research, conducted by scientists at The University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, University of Reading, Michigan Technological University and Memorial University of Newfoundland found that 97% of relevant climate papers endorsed human-caused global warming. The paper was published in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters in May 2013.

In contrast, less than 10% of Americans are aware of the 97% consensus on climate change. This ‘consensus gap’ matters. When the public aren’t aware of the overwhelming scientific agreement on global warming, they’re less likely to support action to mitigate climate change. 97 Hours of Consensus seeks to close the consensus gap.

The campaign begins on 9/7 (the date itself reinforcing the 97% consensus). An interactive webpage featuring the quotes and caricatures is available at

How You Can Help

  • Retweet our tweets, sent out via @skepticscience every hour for the next 97 hours. Tweet excerpts from your favourite quotes, using the #97Hours hashtag, or retweet your favourite caricatures (Raymond Pierrehumbert is a personal fave)
  • Share our Facebook posts, also published on the hour every hour.
  • Share our images posted on
  • Blog about #97Hours and embed our quotes/caricatures (which are all creative commons licenced and free to be republished)


97 Hours of Consensus began as a whim when I thought it might be cool to caricature 97 climate scientists. I fast learnt what a big task I was taking on. This project was made possible by a dedicated collaborative effort by the Skeptical Science team. Tracking down short, pithy, stand-alone quotes from climate scientists is not as easy as it sounds and required digging through interviews, articles and long YouTube talks. Many thanks to Dana, Things Break, Rob Painting, Bob Lacatena, Sarah, John Hartz, Baerbel and Kevin C for helping track down the quotes. The task of posting a new cartoon every hour for 97 consecutive hours was made substantially more manageable by Doug Bostrom who automated much of the process. The amazing interactive webpage at was coded by Bob Lacatena. And this whole project wouldn't have been possible without the tireless collection and organizing of information by Baerbel.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 55:

  1. Here's an example. If we didnt have all those scientists monitoring the climate, we could tell that somehting is happening when obvious stuff like large cargo ships start using the northwest passage. The first large cargo ship to use the northwest passage was in 2013. If in the future it becomes a rebular occurence then you got non meterorological evidence that something is going on

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  2. Very clever, and well done. But I count 100 figures, so I wonder who the remaining 3 will be.

    Lindzen, Curry and Christy?

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  3. RFMarine: we've got heaps of that now in biological repsonses to warming. Such as range shifts in marine and terrestrial plants and animals, changes in timing of life history events, etc.  Ecologists like to say we dont even need all the therometers (and satellites) - we can clearly see the warming in ecosystems responses. example one   example two

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  4. While it is important to note and accentuate the fact of mainstream science support and confirmation of AGW, there are consequences to reinforcing perceptions of the importance of "concensus" (in general) on issues of science, especially with regard to the shaping of public policy in response the findings of science. These consequences can become more problematic as these terms get translated from considered debate to more colloquial exchanges.

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  5. Hey, I got tipped off to this by a George Mason Univerity email, which posted six of the figures with their statements. It's a great idea and I'd like to email friends about this, but I don't see a way to see all of the statements already made on this website--and the examples on the email don't all match the first six on the website. I don't know when people will check their emails and I don't want them to miss anything. When I check the corner box on the home page, I am taken to the picture of the group, with the ones whose statements have been made fo far shown and the rest as darkened figures. It took a little while before a large figure with a statement appeared, and I hope people will have the patience to wait until this happens. I also can't get back to the home page without downloading it all over again. If you can tell me how to navigate this any better, I would like to share it with the folks I am emailing.

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  6. Oh. Never mind. I saw the figures wave when I put my cursor on them, but didn't hold it there long enough to see the statements. Guess I'm too impatient.

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  7. johnthepainter - you can see the ones already published via the menue-path: Resources --> Climate Graphics - 97 Hours of Consensus . This takes you to this page:

    The ones in the email you received contain a glimpse into who is yet to come - a preview if you will.

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  8. Ah. Now I see that only the name appears when the cursor is held on the figure (and not until it waves) and that the statement usually requires a click before it appears. I hope folks don't give up before they figure this out, especially old guys like me. 

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  9. Is this great initiative being intentionally coordinated with the "Disruption" screenings being held tonight around the country?

    "Disruption" film: grassroots global revolt a key answer to CC

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  10. I have 2 observations;

    1) it's vewry difficult to get some of the figures to respond to your mouse-over. I'm not sure what the problem is, do we need to rotate the screen?

    2) there seem to be too many "professors" and not enough "scientists" (as in dr.'s, etc). Or are the professors really scientists?


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  11. Jenna, the professors are scientists who regularly publish in their respective sub-disciplines.  It would be cool to get a google scholar link for each of them (or a link to their CVs).

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  12. For example, David Karoly.

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  13. Jenna, I have found the rotation and pan arrows to be helpful sometimes in accessing a particular scientist.  I think those buttons give a very cool effect, so congratulations to the people who worked on this.

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  14. Each scientist's cartoon and quote page (follow BaerbelW's link or instructions above at comment #7) here on SkS has a link to that scientist's bio page. Usually hosted by their university, etc.

    Each hour's featured scientist on the 97Hours website ( has the same bio link.
     Also, when you hover over the smaller figures which are already "lit up" on the "turntable", and click your mouse that scientist's quote balloon will pop up. The bio link is also in that bubble but there is a trick to get to it. Click and hold your mouse button and drag over to the underlined link, release the button and a new tab/window will open with the bio page.

    Have fun!


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  15. Jenna  Professor is an academic title used by universities.  Most professors have a track record of attracting grants and publishing in the peer reviewed literature and are considered experts in their field.  Drs in this context have a PhD but may not work in a university so are not referred to as Professor even though their scientific output is similar to those of "Professors".  And of course there are may scientists working in university who also have excellent credentials but are not professors as there are only a limited number of professorships available

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  16. Jenna, I suspect there are a handful professors who don't have a PhD (for instance because they have built up an impressive track record of industrial research before moving into academia) but I would suspect the number would be exceedingly small, especially as it is possible to get a "PhD by publication".

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  17. Can someone please tell me if this Greenland ice core graph is real or crap?  Not sure who to believe.

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  18. Donny, see

    No surprise to see WUWT not caring (see their "update") about using, once again, a falsified graph.

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  19. Donny - That's one of the most misrepresented data sets on the climate blogosphere. See the Crux of a Core series here on SkS.

    Long story short: it's a local record of a particular location in Greenland, not a global proxy, often mis-graphed with incorrect proxy endpoints, and shown with a noteworthy lack of the most recent temperatures:

    GISP2 data with most recent instrumental temperatures


    Good data, deceptive presentations, ridiculous interpretations. 

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  20. KR looking at the graph above it looks like there was rapid warming 6300 years ago of more than 3 degrees in about a 200 year span.... do they have theories as to what caused that rapid warming? 

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  21. Donny... You have to bear in mind that that graph represents only one small part of the globe. It is a regional record of temperature at the Greenland summit. Also bear in mind where the Greenland summit is. It's well above the arctic circle and thus it's where we expect to see much more rapid swings in temperature.

    I'm really amazed that Watts has posted that version of the GISP2 data. He totally knows that the it's wrong where it states that the year 2000 = "present." That should give you a sense of how much Watts cares about accuracy and truth. In fact, of all the versions of the GISP2 data floating around the denialsphere, that one is probably the most misleading of all.

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  22. Marco @18... Also, Watts tries to pull out Loehle's work to make up for his posting such a thoroughly debunked graph of GISP2. But in my first SkS article I took that one on and created the graph below with Dr Loehle's assistance.

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  23. Rob, as also pointed out at Hotwhopper, Watts actually put up Loehle 2007, before all the corrections were made.

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  24. I must say, adding the guitar into Dr Alley's cartoon character is a nice touch.

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  25. Donny

    I assume you are reerring to the big change at around 6500 BP. This period, the major cooling ad warming is called the 8.2 kiloyear event. The main theory for its cause is that it was the final collapse of Lake Agassiz. Agssiz and its sister Lake Ojibway were massive glacial lakes in the northern US and central Canada that formed as the Laurentide ice sheet melted. Probably held more fresh water than all lakes on earth today.

    The main theory is that repeatedly as the ice sheets melted these lakes were prone to ice wall collapse floods, dumping huge amounts fo fresh water. When these bursts of fresh water flooded out into the Arctic or North Atlantic the change in salinity they caused triggered a slowdown/collapse in the Atlantic Meridinal Overturning Circulation- the current system that includes the Gulf Stream that makes wester Europe artificially warm. If the current collapses then the north atlantic basin can cool signiicantly and then warms again when the current restablishes.

    The 8.2 Kyr event is thought to have resulted from the last collapse of Lake Agassiz - there were earlier floods triggering previous events like this that come from earlier in the core, not shown on this graph.

    Importantly, these sort of events appear very differently in the Antarcic cores and other studies with the same period being perhaps warmer. Which is what we might expect - if heat isn't being moved northward then there should be more heat remaining in the south.

    The cores aren't recording global events so much as local and regional ones. Standard denier tosh to suggest, imply, or 'leave the reader to form their own view' that black is white through cherry picking the data they use.

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  26. Update to my comment at #14 above.

    The 97 Hours website has been updated so that when you click on one of the lit-up cartoons the quote bubble will pop-up and stay up - so you can click on the scientist's bio page. There is also now a link in the lower right which goes to the source of the scientist's quote.

    Have fun!

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  27. I wonder if SkS might consider publishing 'Climate Scientist Cards' (like baseball cards, except, well, you know). Some of our local coops have done this for local small farmers. It kind of gets across the idea how skewed our priorities are in our culture, and who are true heroes are.

    The cards could include these caricatures, the quotes, and a short blurb--maybe stats on publications...

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  28. So how many of these folks do people recognize (at least by name, if not by caricature)? I seem to recognize the names of about a third of them, so far (though it is difficult to pull up some of the figures who are partly behind others).

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    You can use the rotate buttons in the top corners to move the characters around, if someone is obscured.


    Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration

    Global warming seems to have paused over the past 15 years while the deep ocean takes the heat instead. The thermal capacity of the oceans far exceeds that of the atmosphere, so the oceans can store up to 90% of the heat buildup caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Chen and Tung used observational data to trace the pathways of recent ocean heating. They conclude that the deep Atlantic and Southern Oceans, but not the Pacific, have absorbed the excess heat that would otherwise have fueled continued warming.

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  30. Rob Honeycutt @22. A graph is just a Rorschach test to Anthony.

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  31. I wanted the Mojib Latif quote to be this one:

    'If my name were not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming'

    If I remember correctly in response to some contrarian claiming that his work supported them.

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  32. I think I can spot Christy now (without any quote).

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  33. Yes Lars, I spotted him a few hours back, before noon UK time, looking grim with arms folded. Will we see Lindzen, Spencer or Michaels soon, oh and Soon too?

    BTW I first started looking at the graphic with Firefox on a Linux box, Ubuntu, and have more difficulty getting the name up and arm wave. It does work but not quite as slick as on a Win box, with Firefox.

    I was wondering about those rotate buttons too, they didn't show up on Linux, the monitor here is at the limits for brightness and contrast,  but now I what I am looking for I find them if hovering over the patch where they are, having just located them on the Win box.

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  34. Congratulations team on another world class utility that shows up the opposition.

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  35. I see Richard Lindzen has indeed joined the group, between David Karoly, Keith Shine and Veerabhadran Ramanathan.

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  36. Please be careful with the consensus argument.

    "In argumentation theory, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for “appeal to the people”) is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it. In other words, the basic idea of the argument is: “If many believe so, it is so.”

    This type of argument is known by several names,[1] including appeal to the masses, appeal to belief, appeal to the majority, appeal to democracy, appeal to popularity, argument by consensus, consensus fallacy, authority of the many, and bandwagon fallacy, and in Latin as argumentum ad numerum (“appeal to the number”), and consensus gentium (“agreement of the clans”)."

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  37. dhf - Please be careful with the alternative 'Galileo gambit' fallacy frequently offered by the pseudo-skeptics, that they are iconoclastic geniuses who see everything more clearly than the vast majority of scientists studying the data. 

    From RationalWiki:

    In reality, taking up the mantle of Galileo requires not just that you are scorned by the establishment but also that you are correct — that is, that the evidence supports your position. There is no necessary link between being perceived as wrong and actually being correct; if people perceive you to be wrong, you usually are wrong.

    There are far far more cranks than Galileos - the consensus generally reflects the most reasonable interpretations of the data. And it doesn't help 'skeptic' arguments to see that every self-identified climate Galileo holds different, contradictory hypotheses, sometimes with a single pseudo-skeptic expressing multiple contradictions simultaneously. 

    I will note that the last time the scientific consensus shifted on this topic was mid-20th century, the '50s and '60s, when accumulating evidence began to convince climate scientists that we affected climate change - the shift to acceptance of AGW. Reversing that consensus would take a completely new and convincing set of evidence - and none is apparent. 

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  38. dhf Ironically it is the skeptics that initiated this with their petitions suggesting that there isn't a consensus and that the basic science is seriously questioned amongst scientists.  Pointing out that this is not true is not a logical fallacy.

    The point is that nobody is seriously suggesting that the existence of a consensus actually has any bearing on the science (actually the causal arrow is in the opposite direction).  Those who understand the basic science are unlikely to care about the consensus.  How should those who don't understand the science evaluate the issue?  I would suggest that following the consensus view of the experts is a fully rational thing to do.  That is the point.

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  39. On the other hand, the consensus of evidence . . . 

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  40. Very many are trained through education and profession to recognize and disregard arguments containing logical fallacies. The reputation of individuals and organizations are at risk when they use logical fallacies in their argumentation.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] You are already skating on the thin ice of sloganeering which is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy.

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  41. dhf @40... Do you have a point? If so, make it.

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  42. dhf it is dissapointing that you appeared to have ignored the responses to your initial post on this thread.

    Do you think it is rational for those unable to understand the science of climate change to base their views on the balance of expert opinion on the topic, yes or no?  If no, please explain why.

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  43. And Spencer is the last one of the three against!

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  44. Lars, I wonder if Pat and Judy will be annoyed or relieved at being absent?

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  45. dhf @36 and 40

    You are incorrect, the argument is only an "appeal to the masses" if the argument is being presented to the 3%, i.e. if someone used this argument to try to persuade Lindzen, Spencer, Pat Michaels, etc.

    However it is being used to convince a much wider, less knowledgable, audience, and thus is, in fact, an appeal from authority ( )

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  46. I fully accept that all but a very few climate scientists are convinced AGW exists, and is of concern, and has strong science behind it.  Even Richard Tol admits 90+% of scientists are convinced.  Still the 97% number has been around as long as Naomi Oreskes and hasn't changed in 11 years.  Numbers that constant (pi notwithstanding) usually make me suspicious, not of the science but how we are communicating it.

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    Moderator Response:

    [Rob P] - Richard Tol only accomplishes a lowering of the consensus to 91% by magicking up 300 extra rejection papers - he camouflages this with technobabble in his paper. IIRC only 78 were found in the entire rating process of Cook et al (2013). To my knowledge, not even one extra rejection paper has been found let alone 300.  

    As for 97% & Oreskes; I think you may be misremembering - Oreskes (2004) found no papers at all that rejected the consensus. 

  47. dhf @40:

    "Very many are trained through education and profession to recognize and disregard arguments containing logical fallacies."

    Being in fact trained in formal logic, and having some practical experience in rehtoric, I can recognize your argument as an "argument from assertion".  

    Of course, that does not make it a logical fallacy.  A logical fallacy is formally described as an "invalid argument", ie, and argument for which the premises can be true, and the conclusion false.  Clearly, the argument by assertion, as the formal form of p⇒p (read as p, therefore p, where p is any proposition).  That is so far from being a logical fallacy, it is in fact a tautology.  It also in no way gives us more reason to believe that "p" than we had initially, and is thus a rhetorical fallacy (or from some points of view, a strong rhetorical move if you can disguise what you are doing.

    Unfortunately, that which you argue for by assertion is false.

    I know that becuase both induction and abduction are also logical fallacies.  (I leave aside mathematical induction, which may be formally valid, but cannot be shown to be formally valid without assuming that it is.)  

    In the classic example of induction is the argument that because all (non-albino) crows that we have seen are black, therefore all (non-albino) crows are black.  Clearly the proposition that all members of a set, S, have a given property is not logically entailed from the fact that all members of a proper subset of S, S', have that property.  But the argument from induction asserts that inference to be valid.  Ergo the argument from induction is a logical fallacy.

    To take a practical example, it is a universal experience of humans that not all points of the Earth's surface are directly visible from one location no matter how high.  It does not follow logically from that that tomorrow no human will directly see the entirety of the Earth's surface from one location.  Assuming that they will is a logical fallacy, known as the argument from induction. 

    An even more practical example is the belief that that asperin has a high probability of reducing the pain from a headache (supported by a vast body of experience) will continue through tomorrow.  It is logically consistent with all past experience that from tomorrow asperin will cause humans to die after 48 hours of excruciating agony.  Any time you take asperin in the confident belief that it will reduce your headache and cause no appreciable harm, you are indulging in the logical fallacy known as induction.

    Abduction (the inference to the best explanation), is even more fun in that it has the apparent form of a named fallacy, ie, that of affirming the antecedent.  It is none-the-less the basis of all science.  Admitedly, some scientists try for a Popperian science, but as even Popper admitted, falsification is a matter of convention - and hence even Popperian science is inductive.  Indeed, as Imre Lakatos has pointed out, the inductive leap based on the fact that a theory has not been falsified is always false.  As he says,

     "In the distorting mirror of naive falsificationism, new theories which replace old refuted ones, are themselves born unrefuted. Therefore they do not believe that there is a relevant difference between anomalies and crucial counterevidence. For them, anomaly is a dishonest euphemism for counterevidence. But in actual history new theories are born refuted: they inherit many anomalies of the old theory. Moreover, frequently it is only the new theory which dramatically predicts that fact which will function as crucial counterevidence against its predecessor, while the "old" anomalies may well stay on as "new" anomalies"

    It is clear from that last example that the very professions you probably had in mind (medical doctors, engineers) are not trained to ignore arguments based on logical fallacies.  Rather, they base their careers on at least one logical fallacy, and probably many.  Indeed, certainly many if they are any good.

    Appeal against an argument because it is a "logical fallacy" really amounts to the old classical cannard of assuming all knowledge is certain - that only that which can be known deductively can in fact be known.  In fact, in real life most of what we know is known inductively - from arguments that are not formally valid, but are reliable.  That is necessarilly the case, or our knowledge would be restricted to logical tautologies, and mathematics.  Indeed, at a most fundamental level, did we not accept the argumentum ad populum in our youths, we would speak no language.  It is only because all around us (or nearly all) call crows "crows" and swans "swans" that we know the meaning of those words.

    The reason some (at least) of the "logical fallacies" have such a hold on our minds is that they are in fact reliable ways to obtain knowledge, or at least were so under the conditions in which we evolved.  Under those conditions the knowledge base of all the people was based on their every day experience of the world over generations, and within its limits was reliable (although it could sometimes be false).  We did not need to check that black mambas were poisonous because we were told so by "all the people", and trusting them was a far more reliable way to obtain that knowledge (even if less certain than direct experimentation). 

    Not only were they reliable, they were essential.  No person growing up has time or ability to check every fact they accept for themselves.  That was true in the past and is even more so in modern societies with a substantial scientific and technical base. 

    What has changed with the development of science is not that we need no longer rely on "arguments from authority" or "arguments from all the people", but that we have realized the reliability of the people on whom we rely depends essentially on the type of experience they have.  We have realized with respect to science that reading ancient greek classics is not a reliable source of knowledge, but that detailed experimentation and scientific reasoning is.  Therefore we no longer include classics scholars among the people we relly on to understand physics.  Instead we relly on scientists.

    Doing so, of course, remains a 'logical fallacy'.  It is also a reliable guide to knowledge.  The key is we must ensure that scientists do not themselves relly on the argumetum ad populem in the area of their specialization.  Rather, they should relly on those other 'logical fallacies', induction and abduction.  So, unless you are yourself a climate scientists, you are a fool to not relly on the 97% in determining your knowledge on science.  You are giving up the most reliable source of knowledge to which you have access.  You are even more a fool if you do so based on myths about "logical fallacies" which have no bearing on the real world.

    Climate scientists themselves, on the other hand, should not be persuaded one iota in any direction from the fact that they are in the 97%, or the 2% or the 1%.  And from my experience of their works, they are not. 

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  48. "No person growing up has time or ability to check every fact they accept for themselves."

    This jives with a saying (from the Canadian Aviation Safety Letter) I have used many times over the years: learn from the mistake of others - you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

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  49. So what is the post-mortem on this project? Was it a success? Did it get out into the internet? Has there been a strong response one way or the other? Do we think it persuaded some of those it was designed to persuade?

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    Moderator Response:

    [Rob P] - John Cook is very busy at the moment, but will have a post up in the next few days. I can say that it looks to have been a very successful project.  

  50. Objection! Roy's caricature doesn't have a pithy quote.  How about "No it aint', shut up!"

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