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How science deniers use false equivalence to pretend there’s a debate

If you read a news article, Google a scientific topic, or watch TV, you’d think that some scientific principles were actually being debated by scientists. The unfiltered information about important scientific subjects allows the science deniers to use a false equivalence to make it appear that the often minority, and scientifically unsupported viewpoint is equivalent to the scientific consensus which is based on huge amounts of published evidence.

From listening to the screaming and yelling, you would think that scientists aren’t sure about evolution, vaccines, global warming, and the age of the earth (or even the age of the universe). There are even those who think there’s a debate that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. It’s because some news sources think there’s a debate, so bring one person to represent one side, and one for the other, and the person screams the loudest often wins.

Science vs BS

Real Science


Part of the problem is that some people think that science is unapproachable and too hard to comprehend. It isn’t. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s easy, because it shouldn’t be. Answering questions about the natural universe requires, demands that scientist approach it with the least amount of bias and the most amount of evidence. And sometimes it is complex and nuanced, but why do people give false balance to someone, without the expertise or education in the field, as if they know more about the issue than does the scientist.

To become a world class architect and to design a skyscraper isn’t easy, but we non-architects can observe what we see, and accept that the building isn’t going to topple over in a hurricane. Do we presume to know how the foundation has to be built to support the building? Or what materials are used to give flexibility in a wind, but strong enough to not collapse? Mostly, we don’t, we trust that there isn’t a massive conspiracy to build unsafe skyscrapers because architects are being paid off by Big Concrete to use cheaper materials. We don’t question the architects’s motives or whether there are solid engineering principles, probably outside of most of our understanding, that were employed to make that skyscraper.

It’s the same with science. We can accept scientific principles without doing the research ourselves. But, and it’s a big but, if you want to dispute accepted science, then you have to bring science to the table not a false debate. Science isn’t hard, but it isn’t easy either. You cannot deny basic scientific facts without getting a solid education, opening a scientific laboratory staffed with world-class scientists, and then publishing peer-reviewed articles that can help move the prevailing scientific consensus.

You cannot spend an hour or a day or even a week Googling a few websites and then loudly proclaim that the scientific consensus is wrong; no, you need to do the hard work. Until you do, those of us who are skeptics and scientists get to ignore you, and we get to continue with the current consensus.

Part of the problem is that the public falls for the false equivalence logical fallacy. Presenters, whether it’s the news or giving us a pseudo-debate,  think that to be balanced, both sides of a scientific argument are equivalent in quality of opinion and evidence. Just watch a presentation on any of the major news outlets on anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change (ACC).

They’ll have one talking head, usually a scientist who is trying to present nuanced data, usually uncomfortable with public “debate,” going up against a photogenic, possibly a scientist (but in a field totally unrelated to climate studies), who uses logical fallacies and manipulated data to make a point. Then the viewer might think that half the world’s scientists are equally split between both sides of the “debate” regarding ACC. However, the real balance would give us 97 scientists supporting anthropogenic climate change and 2-3 against. Yes, a high impact factor, extremely well respected journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, analyzed climate change science, and determined that 97-98% of researchers in climate science supported the tenets of human influenced climate change.

Katie Couric and false balance reporting


In December 2013, Katie Couric, a fairly popular USA-based journalist reported, on her own eponymous, recently-cancelled, TV talk show, Katie, about Gardasil (formally known as the HPV quadrivalent vaccine and also called Silgard in Europe). Essentially, Couric interviewed several individuals who claim, without any evidence (and lacking any clue about statistical analysis that is necessary to determine correlation and causation) that Gardasil harmed their children.

Then, Couric gave about a minute of time to ONE physician to explain the safety and effectiveness of Gardasil – as opposed to the heartbreaking, but ultimately anecdotal (and therefore, scientifically irrelevant), stories from parents who needed to blame something for what had happened, and chose Gardasil as the guilty party. As opposed to depression, diet soda, bottled water, air pollution, bad TV shows, or that fake butter that the movie theaters use. In other words, I could find literally hundreds of environmental causes for these children’s symptoms that appear to be superficially correlated, but statistically, just random coincidence.


As I have written before, Gardasil is incredibly safe, as shown in massive and well-designed epidemiological studies. It prevents HPV (human papillomavirus) infection, a sexually transmitted disease. And in case you think it’s just some benign virus, HPV is directly responsible for cervical canceranal cancervulvar cancervaginal canceroropharyngeal cancer and penile cancer. These are all deadly, disfiguring, and potentially preventable cancers through the use of HPV vaccines.

In other words, Couric, in the ultimate example of false balance, believed that both sides of a scientific “debate” are equivalent in quality of opinion and evidence. But rarely is this true, especially in scientific principles that have been well-studied and supported by a massive amount of evidence. The safety and efficacy of vaccines is supported by the vast consensus of real science. The antivaccination side has no evidence, so it must rely upon logical fallacies and cherry picked data, and they lack any real, world-class contingent of scientists who have stepped up to change the consensus with real evidence.

Let’s be clear about some key science. Evolution is a fact. Yes, it is called a theory, but I’m going to assume the typical reader knows what constitutes a scientific theory. Anthropogenic climate change or global warming is a fact. Vaccines are, in fact, safe and effective (see my articles, here, here, here, or here, if you need evidence with lots of peer-reviewed articles). The earth is 4.5 billion years old, and the universe is 13.75 billion years old. And HIV causes AIDS.

Science denialists try to create a false equivalence through several methods:

1. Claim science is a democracy


Evolution deniers tried to create controversy with A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism, where creationists got “scientists” to sign a document that said “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged. There is scientific dissent from Darwinism. It deserves to be heard.” It now has over 1200 signatures, which sounds impressive, except for a few problems, such as fewer than 20% of the “scientists” are biologists.

But the bigger issue is that 1200, even if we accept that they all have an intimate understanding of biological evolution, represents less than 0.03% of biological scientists in the United States (let alone the whole world). If this were a democracy, the election for “Evolution is a fact” would win in a scientific landslide.

Science is built upon the scientific method, which is a logical process of observation, experiment, analysis, and publication. It is simple, but it requires work. Over time, after numerous experiments, nearly always published in peer-reviewed journals, followed by frequent repetition (and sometimes failure) of the experiments and results by other scientists, scientists arrive at a consensus about the evidence that supports a particular set of principles about the science being researched.

As the evidence accumulates and the science becomes more predictive, a scientific theory, which is a series of statements about the causal elements for observed phenomena, is formed out of the accumulated knowledge and predictability. These theories explain aspects of the natural world. They are predictive. And they can be tested through the scientific method.

Arriving at a scientific consensus is not something that happens overnight, but it is rather glacial in pace. That’s a good thing. It keeps out poorly supported ideas, but gives strength to ideas that have lots of supporting evidence. From those basic principles, science expands or improves it over time. One does not decide that the consensus is wrong through a debate or argument–changing the consensus requires as much research based in the scientific method, as many peer-reviewed publications and as much critique, repetition, and review as the evidence that built the original consensus.

Unfortunately, at the world convention of denialists, they shared their ideas about this imaginary democracy of science. Not to be left out, the global warming denialists have their Oregon Petition, which has signatures of about 31,000 “scientists” who deny the existence of anthropogenic global warming.

Of course, it’s impossible to verify any of the names, because the signatures are on little pieces of paper and no one has been able to determine if the names are genuine. Furthermore, even if we were to assume that all the signatures were valid, only a tiny number (less than 10%) are actual scientists with expertise in the fields of climatology, geology, or something relevant to the climate sciences. Once again, if the vote were held between all Ph.D.’s in those fields, the vote would be overwhelmingly in favor of climate change as a scientific fact.

2. Appeal to authority


Closely tied to the claim that science is some sort of democracy, denialists rely upon the Appeal to Authority, a logical fallacy which provides an argument from an authority, but on a topic outside of the authority’s expertise or on a topic on which the authority is not disinterested. So, when trying to create a false equivalence (and thus a public debate), denialists will bring individuals with credentials (whether valid or not) to the debate. But again, one authority person does not outweigh the vast numbers that are usually on the other side of the argument.

Vaccine denialists love to use Joe Mercola or Sherri Tenpenny, physicians who, in general, claim that vaccines are either ineffective, dangerous, or both, as their authoritative source for vaccine dangers. Of course, neither have any real knowledge of scientific research, and have never studied vaccines at the level of real biomedical researchers. But because they have “Dr.” before their name, the antivaccination pushers use them as their “proof” of vaccine problems.

Of course, they ignore the vast majority of “authority” figures who are on the other side of the fence. If we were to have a vote on the safety and effectiveness of vaccines amongst the professional authorities on vaccines, immunologists, epidemiologist, physiologist, public health officials, microbiologists, and virologists, the election would be another landslide of epic proportions.

3. Conspiracies


And tied to both the above, denialists love claiming that there is some conspiracy between all the world’s scientists to suppress or fabricate evidence. This incredible leap of irrationality would depend upon all the millions of scientists working together to invent data to show that evolution is true. That global warming is happening. That vaccines are safe and effective. That the earth is 4.5 billion years old. In today’s world, with all of the social media, and desires to be famous, you’d think that out of those millions, a few would want to become famous by outing the conspiracy. All the antivaccine conspiracists would love to get together and contribute to paying for a whistleblower. But funny thing is–it hasn’t happened.

A few years ago, emails were hacked at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK. The emails were taken out of context, and used by climate change deniers to “prove” there was a conspiracy. Of course, there wasn’t any conspiracy, but there were typical discussions of data by real scientists who were frank and honest.

And the data discussed was a small part of the total mountain of data supporting global warming–but in the world of false equivalence, this one set of emails, which proved nothing that was claimed by the climate-change deniers, was considered as an important justification to show that there was a massive conspiracy to fake data about climate change. Except for a few facts like–the emails didn’t say what the deniers think they say, and that even if there was a problem with the data, it was on one tiny little corner of the whole mountain of evidence supporting anthropogenic climate change. The science behind anthropogenic climate change is unchanged, and powerful.

4. Manufactroversy


Sometimes denialists will manufacture or invent a controversy, what is sometimes called a manufactroversy. Journalists frequently fall for this invention, and attempt to create a false balance between both sides, right out of the thin air of the internet.

The vaccine deniers have done a good job trying to create an illusion that there is some sort of scientific debate ongoing with regards to vaccines causing autism. The thoroughly and scientifically debunked link between vaccines and autism continues to appear, because journalists make it appear that there are two equal sides of the debate. There is one side, the science side that has literally dozens of clinical research studies that show there is no link between vaccines and autism. None. The antivaccination cult has nothing.

Evidence matters. Quality of evidence matters. Quantity of quality evidence matters most of all.


Science matters. There’s an old saying that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Well, if someone wants to create an extraordinary dispute, it will also require extraordinary evidence that there is actually an extraordinary dispute going on.

For evolution, global warming, HIV/AIDS, vaccines, the age of the earth and universe, there is no scientific controversy. There is only a public debate, where one side is using science, and the other side is inventing data, cherry picking research out of low quality journals, or just simply yelling the loudest. But in the real world of logical science, there is no debate. We’ve moved onto uncovering more mysteries of the universe.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2012. It has been completely revised and updated to include more comprehensive information, to improve readability and to add current research.

Key citations


  • Anderegg WR, Prall JW, Harold J, Schneider SH. Expert credibility in climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jul 6;107(27):12107-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107. Epub 2010 Jun 21. PubMed PMID: 20566872; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2901439. Impact factor: 9.737.
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (2010). The Evidence That HIV Causes AIDS.
The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!
  • Jay Adams

    So I got sidetracked by your claim that 1200 = 0.03% of the biological scientists in the United States. That would mean there are 4 million biologists in the US alone–which means more than 1 out of every 100 people . Obviously that can’t be right.

    I’ll go back and finish reading now, but my trust in your scientific reasoning is somewhat shaken by the absence of basic math skills, or the discipline to check your own math, or the common sense to spot an obvious error in math and reasoning.

    But what do I know: I’m not a scientist.

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  • bryoneill11

    Social Justice Warriors are doing the same thing..

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  • JD_Paco

    How about if we let John Oliver concisely illustrate the issue of false equivalency:

  • Shane


    So, I’m from the engineering background. We’re a somewhat different lot from scientists and like to remain in the world of practical utility.

    Allow me to explain – Quantum Mechanics is a catalog of observations and mathematical relationships derived from experimental results. These mathematical relationships have been exploited for the purpose of repeatably manufacturing devices/machines for a defined and practical purpose. Regardless of the many theories out there as to -why- these relationships exist – the practical model of a MOSFET doesn’t change, nor do the principles used to engineer it.

    Theories like String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity are, indeed, fascinating – but are only useful insofar as devising a means to test for phenomena and/or relationships they predict to exist. Since many of these phenomena are sufficiently outside our current capability to examine, we refer to this region of Physics as “theoretical” or “unsettled” no matter how much math or how many differing models exist.

    To that end, I must present a simple challenge – which is the most basic one of science.

    All theories must be able to be tested before any form of conclusion can be rendered.

    For instance, we can make a very strong argument for the heliocentric model of the universe by constructing a model that predicts various ecliptic events and also the various changes in relative position of celestial bodies. Some other explanation -could- be possible, but all of our known observations stack up pretty well with the current heliocentric model and it works for practical purposes like sending rovers to other planets. Again, we can see that utility has a voice that is most profound.

    Thus – the challenge I would make is to illustrate the utility of the science of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    You’ve got this theory that is, supposedly, settled science and a consensus. All of these brilliant minds who are thoroughly educated and know what they are talking about.

    I’m from Missouri – Show me.

    Where are the models utilizing this science that are useful?

    Sure – weather forecasting has gotten better over the years, but that’s largely because of improvements in radar imaging and computer processing (as well as the associated databases that allow for better comparison against previous systems of similar structure). Avionics – radars, imaging, computing, and sensors are kind of my thing.

    One should not confuse the ability to forecast imminent events with the possession of a model capable of predicting macroscopic trends. Yet, even the most basic of climate predictions are illustrated to be lacking in substance. Disregarding popularized comments from politicians that no one should take seriously; How much ice should we expect to melt over a five year time period? Where is the best place to measure it?

    What kinds of impacts can be expected on precipitation?

    – So, less snow, right?

    – Or… more… but I’m sure there’s a model, somewhere, that predicted that…..

    Which leads me to my concern with your standpoint:

    As a skeptic, one should require extraordinary evidence to justify an extraordinary claim. What evidence is there that these people have -any- clue as to what, specifically, is causing relative changes in such a complex system as the environment?

    They are still discovering -FUNDAMENTAL- relationships:

    These are the types of relationships within a system that completely re-organize models and throw conclusions out the window.

    It would seem, to me, that to accept the claim that any consensus within the scientific community is irrelevant to the fact that said consensus has failed to produce practical results. As such, the skeptic’s stance would be that the data and models are incomplete and any conclusion on anthropogenic global warming/climate change/disruption is premature and intellectually irresponsible.

    Most certainly, no rational person would ever begin to make sweeping policy decisions based on the predictions of existing climate models – they would demand evidence to the claim that such models were even remotely reliable.

    The mechanics – laws, if you will – of the universe are absolute and discerning. It is not up to the consensus of man to determine them, it is only through a trial against those mechanics that we discern them. We can sit and debate historical charts all we want to – if the theory that results from those studies is demonstrated unusable, any conclusions derived from it simply can’t be treated as factual.

    • Scott Richard Holm

      So, after your lengthy pontification, what’s your point Shane?

      • Shane

        The point is summed up in the final paragraph.

        The universe doesn’t care what us petulant monkeys think about how it works, our theories, musings, debates, etc.

        It simply operates.

        When the theories one uses to construct predictions turn out to fail in their predictions, or predict the opposite – the theory is not successful at describing the operating mechanisms behind the monitored properties.

        In other words, it has been demonstrated to be false. End of debate. The universe has spoken.

        Go back to the drawing board and try again.

        After several rounds of this playing out, one has to draw into question the implicit assumptions made to develop the predictions.

        What I am saying, here, is that Skeptical Raptor is not at all concerned about science in this instance, but in human tribalism. “Us” and “them” mentalities that are quaint and irrelevent before the machinations of the universe around us.

        If your theories don’t work, they are incomplete at best and wrong by default. Pounding the drum of who is and is not aboard with science is simply one tribe of monkeys screeching at the other.

        Basically: I am disappointed in Skeptical Raptor and explaining how his stance on this issue is misguided and, frankly, irrelevant.

        Normally, I wouldn’t care, but Skeptical Raptor has been spot on in several cases, yet completely fumbles, here.

        Seeing the caliber of individuals who typically provide feedback, I observed that there was a critical lack that I attempted to fill. When one is surrounded by butt-slapping peers in the locker room of intellectual jocks, it is easy to lose track of what is important.

        In an ironic sense, he is correct in that there is no debate. The error is that he simply fails to look at the data that concludes the theories as incorrect.

        Thus, the grounds for all of this is psychological and sociological. Rather than admit that there is insufficient data to construct an accurate theory, “the religious heathens can’t be allowed to think they are right.”

        Which is all this is about.

        At the end of the day – it is no skin off of my nose. People who can look beyond these issues will engineer the future and take ownership of it. I just hate to see people left behind.

        But, I have rambled enough; a habit inherited from my dather, who loved lectures, and made worse by the idea that I have something worth saying. Those of us who believe ourselves to be intellectuals are inherently prone to a narcissistic ego that can be difficult to keep in check – or impossible when unaware of it. Mine has expressed itself more than enough.

        • Scott Richard Holm

          Your argument makes no sense whatsover. Just a rambling stream of conscienceness that says nothing. So we’re supposed to be impressed with your oratory and take your word that Skeptical Raptor is wrong because you say so and ignore that you’ve provided no lucid argument to support your position? You’re pretentiousness is unlike any that I’ve ever seen. How about you just say directly what you mean?

          • Shane

            No, Skeptical Raptor is wrong because the theory did not produce accurate predictions, or even an accurate correlation. This was provided in the first post and is even a topic of open discussion among climate scientists about “where did the warming go?” Your comment is simply a testament to your dedication to the dogma, your ignorance of the subject, or your inability to understand its implication.

            Given that you can’t understand when the theories backing your dogmatic stance are demonstrably wrong, it does not surprise me that you have difficulty rendering anything into a lucid picture.

            It was simply a decree. There is no argument to be had as you have already been ruled against. I did not expect it to be heeded, but, vain efforts are a hallmark of humanity.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            Bring evidence that refutes the vast consensus on climate change. We’ll wait for your ignorance to be exhibited for the world to see.

          • kellymbray

            Crickets………. i wonder if any of the hot air he just blew out modified the climate?

          • siklopz

            there have been plenty of accurate predictions from said theories. the fact that you choose to ignore them reflects more on you than on anyone else. if you can refute this, i’d love to see evidence…as opposed to more narcissistic rambling. though, ironically, i do love to hear the typical ego masturbation of pseudo-intellectuals such as yourself.

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  • Bill

    I like your blog, and I’d like to get you opinion on whether the idea of “my body my choice” is refuted by science.

    A DNA test would show, starting at the moment of conception, the human embryo is distinct from both the mom and the dad. A person’s unique DNA will be unchanged a year, ten years, and 100 years after the moment of conception. It is true that the embryo is completely dependent on the mom for its development, but is “my body my choice” refuted by science?

    • Skeptical Raptor

      I don’t get the context?

      • Bill

        I certainly want to put my question in the proper context. I am asking what science has to say about that claim that abortion is acceptable because a fetus is part of the mother’s body. An idea that as articulated as “my body my choice.”

        • nc6228

          Science is a process of exploring, understanding, and explaining natural phenomena around us. Science is not designed or intended to answer ethical questions such as the one you posted.

          • Bill

            I think science can pinpoint the moment a particular person, identified by their unique DNA, came in to existence.

          • nc6228

            That is not an ethics question to begin with. Whether that’s possible, I’m not sure.

          • Sam

            Defining a person by the existence of their genetics is a little dubious, though I can certainly see the direction you’re going in.

            If someone dies, not every cell dies at the same time — if I recall correctly, the hair continues to grow for at least a day. However, we don’t say the person is still alive just because some cells with their unique genetic code are still alive. We also continue to define twins as separate people even though their genetic code is identical. (Imagine a world in which killing one of a set of twins was only assault and not murder!)

            Even if it is determined that abortion is “killing a person” the ethics remains a bit murky. Some would say that when we remove a comatose patient from life support we are killing therm.others don’t see it that way, or see it as acceptable. Most see the rather more difficult concept of sentience as being more critical than genetics.

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  • Jessica

    Reminds me of my 7th grade science teacher. She taught us the same thing and it has never let me down. Thanks Mrs. Nazzarata!

    • djmc993150

      did she teach you the socratic method and the scientific method and the standards for declaring something a scientific fact? Just curious.

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  • William

    As a scientist of 30 years standing, excellent and appreciated.

  • Lucas Sousa

    To those who are questioning about the ACC:
    I would like to rely on these two studies:

    They focus exactly on the consensus about the anthropogenic global warming (AGW). What it is concluded is that from 11944 peer-reviewed papers, 32,6% endorse AGW, 66,4% have no AGW position, 0,7% reject AGW and 0,3% are uncertain on AGW. Even though, “Among abstracts that expressed a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the scientific consensus.”.

    On the other study it’s interesting to notice that the more especialized on climate change is the scientist, more chances he has to support the ACC.
    So the point is that the more specialized on climate change are the individuals from a group of scietists, the bigger is the consensus among them.

    • Arthur Doucette

      Unfortunately the Cook paper includes (3) Implicit endorsement Implies humans are causing global warming. E.g., research assumes greenhouse gas emissions cause warming without explicitly stating humans are the cause’…carbon sequestration in soil is important for mitigating global climate change’ As a form of Endorsement, but lots of papers that are exploring the possible impacts of climate change do that. This is in not really an endorsement of the science behind AGW.

      For the second paper, it was a survey, with 30% response rate, which means that people who tend to feel strongly are most likely to respond.

      The questions asked were:

      1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

      2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

      They got 90% who agreed with the first question and 82% with the second.

      BUT, the first question puts the time frame back into 70 years before the end of the LIA, so I’m surprised they didn’t get an even higher YES response, but because this is WELL BEFORE any significant release of Anthro GHGs, even someone answering YES is not necessarily attributing that change to humans.

      The second question is problematically worse, since it doesn’t define what “significant” means. Arguably someone could answer yes even if they think just 20% of the warming is based on human activity, we just don’t know, which is why this survey tells us little about what scientists really think.

      • Skeptical Raptor

        Oh, you love cherry picking? Damn, my expectation of intellectualism from ignorant fools like you was obviously unfounded.

        Pardon me, but where did you get your Ph.D? Some Xtian college supported by evolution deniers? From Fox News?

        • Arthur Doucette

          So you can’t actually discuss the issue and all you can do is attack me personally?

          I really expected more from you.

          My bad.
          Carry on.

          • djmc993150

            Think it says a lot about a website when its operator trolls the comments and launches into childish ad hominems. I don’t think people like them realize they just validate disbelief in any side they are on.

    • djmc993150

      With respect to global climate change, initially I was devoutly behind the science and totally sold on human causation.
      However, scientists in the US and elsewhere that doctored data, lied, and basically did what they could to make sure the data met their conclusions have made all scientists less credible.
      I still believe climate change is occurring. But now i doubt the honesty and truth of the data to say by how much and so forth. When scientists start lying and inserting politics into their results, you open yourself up to question. While prior to the revelations about the lies by climate scientists, few seriously doubted them, now scientists created the debate by becoming politicians. Great job.

      • Lucas Sousa

        I see that many people not just in USA but in other countries keep saying that, that the scientists were “corrupted” by politics. But what I can’t see are good evidences for this hypothesis and a method of faking peer-reviewed articles, which is a kind of article where scientists randomly trade articles and review their works. Please, if you have any good evidence for your affirmations, please show me.

        • djmc993150

          The issue with peer reviewed articles is they are details of processes and conclusions. No one ‘faked’ a peer reviewed article, the problem with their actions, which was reveled in the emails, was how scientists input / interpreted data to enter into those processes. For instance, urban heat islands and their interaction with sensor data as well as how much they effect the overall mean for global temperature.

          Further, exclusion of data points to make sure your model comes out the way you like and so on has been show.

          You can follow these as well as looking through any google search on climate data manipulation. While, again, i dont think the manipulation really changes the fact of global climate change, it calls into question what exactly is really going on, to what degree, and the real processes that cause it. And of course, it brings into doubt how much we can trust scientists.

          • Lucas Sousa

            If I remember right, I read in a portuguese blog that such e-mails were just ripped-off their contexts to show a false “manipulation of data” by scientists. Seriously, I would like more to rely on studies that consistently refute points about AGW than believing conspiracy “theories”.

          • djmc993150

            The emails were admitted to contain evidence of data manipulation. The people who wrote them and organizations they represent tried to defend them by saying they were out of context at the same time saying that the manipulation was not nefarious but just an ‘improved’ way to interpret the data as opposed to an attempt to mislead.
            I also provided you with an article citing the US NOAA doing similar by data point exclusion several years after the emails. Again, data is being manipulated by some to depict a certain point of view they wish to push. I suspect and it has been argued this was done to “prevent contradictory evidence from providing skeptics a false basis to contradict science”. The point is manipulating data has happened and probably continues to do so, which has been proven – we could continue this ad nauseum with claims of “conspiracy theories” in that i could claim the refutation of the fact of the emails and NOAA data is a conspiracy theory in itself. The point of the manipulation is likely to present a specific desired story line for political action, politicized science. If scientists want to become politicians and set policy than they should expect to be given the same trust, ie very little. A PHD lying to me is no different than a HS drop out politician.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            Bullshit. Those emails discussed in an honest manner how to interpret data points. But because you’re a fat, lazy, uneducated fool, you ignore the vast mountains of evidence that don’t require the data from those “emails.”

            But what can I expect from a dumbass that gets his “science” (and by science I really mean ignorance) from Fox News. LOL.

          • djmc993150

            Thank you for reinforcing my low opinion of the average internet hero.

      • John Zohn

        If you want to see who the organizations and scientists that are doctoring the information go to:

        The fossil fuel industry has right wing think tanks, scientists, lawyers and politicians saying the AGW isn’t real. They make many different arguments. Some say the Earth isn’t warming, some say it is but it’s not man made, some say that that the Earth is warming but it is a good thing. If you do a little research, you can find that the scientists that are saying AGW isn’t real or isn’t man made are on the fossil fuel industry payrolls.

        • djmc993150

          As you responded as an adult unlike someone else, I am going to offer you a mulligan.

          I suggest you reread my posts. You are validating my point. I NEVER said nor was ever trying to make the case climate change isnt happening. My point was about the politization of science and the loss of credibility of scientists who have turned to manipulating data to achieve a desired political result. My further point was that “consensus” isnt the method to achieve scientific proof, regardless of what some people think, a scientific proof is true and fact because its the nature and properties of a proof , ie its true and has a repeatable result, a proof isnt true simply because a bunch of people say it is, no matter how many of them have PHDs. The fact you bring up paid “scientists” is validation of my points not a refutation.

          • John Zohn

            There are three things I have noticed about people who think AGW is a fiction, usually being a conspiracy generate by Al Gore. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone who thinks AGW isn’t real but most of the ones I have listened to usually beleive three things. The first is that they believe media outlets like Fox News and a lesser extent CNN and the other popular corporate controlled news sources don’t have an agenda and are telling the truth. The second is that Obama is a rouge dictator who is coming for everyone’s guns. And third, they usually believe that you can solve your problems by preying to Jesus.

          • djmc993150

            And here are the things i have noticed about ignorant ideologues:
            They launch into strawman’s when the topic is not something they know how to respond to or have thought about.
            They dont actually understand nor know anything about their ideology beyond very superficial ideas, they are incapable of thinking for themselves and thus when challenged can only respond with soundbites and what someone else said; not any rational thought out point.
            They immediately attack the other persons character because of the same. Unable to discuss a point on its merits through logical thought and informed discussion they can only try to discredit the person talking rather than actually discuss the point through ad hominems, false attributions, and just plain childish insults.
            They have poor reading comprehension. They are incapable of telling when someone agrees with them on a core tenet of their belief because they believe you must accept their ideology 100% or you dont follow their ideology.
            When its obvious to everyone, even themselves, they have failed to make a cogent point or reached the end of their pavlovian responses, they again try to shift the topic to their next ideological belief.

    • djmc993150

      Science is not determined by a democratic vote. Either something is true and factual and there is experimental evidence that followed all scientific rigor supporting it or it isn’t. If I surveyed scientists and 99% of them said dinosaurs never existed, does that mean dinosaurs never existed? I don’t mean to be argumentative, just that the number or percent of scientists is meaningless when you look at historical trends. Some of the greatest scientific innovations and discoveries were made in contradiction to the generally held belief among scientists.

      • Lucas Sousa

        I understand that, but science is not passing through a time of revolution, a time said by Thomas Kuhn to be very uncertain and innovative. 99% of the time, science is exploring its limits to fix and test its paradigms. Albeit science is not democratic, it is very likely that when a bigger amount of scientists say something, they have more changes to be right than what smaller groups say.

        • djmc993150

          Science is not democratic. And you are right 99% should be more right, but that doesnt mean they are and its not an argument to make for saying something is right.

          The whole reason science has progressed over the centuries is that 1% that challenges the “consensus” belief. For a long time the consensus was disease was caused by “bad vapors” or “an imbalance in ones system”, and so on. Things change and knowledge is gained when the 1% tell the 99% to prove it and when they cant we are driven toward the real answer.

          • siklopz

            …and that is the fallacy that most science deniers use to prove their nonexistent point. the consensus you’re speaking of is rarely, if ever one within the scientific community. such consensus is usually within society, at large, or the common authority (Galileo, for example, challenged the Catholic church). science, as we know it, has only existed for a century or two. no one is claiming science is democratic. the evidence speaks for itself. your inclination to ignore that, is a great example of cognitive dissonance.

          • djmc993150

            And what you are doing is two argument fallacies, a strawman by accusing me of making an argument I never did so you can argue against it (that is not the consensus I am speaking of no matter how much you want it to be) and ad hominem (you can accuse me of what you like, it just proves the weakness of your mind).
            Your knowledge of history and science is pathetic if you think its only existed for a century or two. Your lack of understanding that the fundamentals of the scientific method and the age of enlightenment / reason started long before 1800 or 1900 is flawed and ilinformed. Your lack of comprehension about what went on between Galileo and the Catholic church is even more evidence of that.

          • siklopz

            yup, no fallacies or misinformation there. you just keep making it up, don’t you. you made the argument against said consensus repeatedly above, yet you continue to defend it. then you launch into ad hominem, while accusing others of same. that’s one huge strawman (arguably a “wicker man”) the modern scientific community and methods developed slowly into what we have today. yes, there was real science going on in the past, but it wasn’t codified or peer-reviewed as it is today. when you think you know what you’re talking about, but have no real clue, there’s a term for that, they call it Dunning-Kruger. learn about it

          • siklopz

            i’m still trying to understand what your argument is against Galileo’s challenge of Church dogma??? do you just make this up. the history is well-documented. are you literate? i neglected to provide details, because the story is so well-known among even the most ill-informned, however…if you need help, i can provide historical

          • siklopz
        • djmc993150

          Please see Arthur Doucette’s comment below. Again, data manipulation example.

      • Skeptical Raptor

        You’re inventing an imaginary strawman to make an imaginary point.

        Consensus is NOT a vote, you ought to spend a nanosecond trying to understand that. Consensus is formed based on the amount and quality of evidence that supports a scientific principle.

        The only reason we bring up the number of individuals in real science that support ACC is to show how science deniers try to create a false balance between two “sides”.

        The fact is that the vast mountain of real evidence, of high quality published in top level journals, supports ACC. Period, end of story.

        There are no real scientists who deny the dinosaurs ever existed, so that is irrelevant.

        And if you think that the science is wrong, then get off your fat lazy ass, get a Ph.D., do real research, get it published and show me that everyone is wrong. But right now, you are just a pathetic, foolish, ignorant, fat, lazy science denier, and you bore me.

        • djmc993150

          You dont understand what a strawman is or how to recognize it. And thank you for validating that you have no valid claim to express an opinion that should be taken seriously when you cant sputter through a response without childlike ad hominems.
          And the fact that your reading comprehension is so poor you couldnt even follow a very simple point that the person i was responding to picked up very quickly and easily validates anyone and everyone ignoring you and this pathetic article.

          • nc6228

            You are partially correct, science is not determined by a vote. Science is based on hard evidence that must be replicated and validified. And this is where you left off. The consensus is reflective of that amount of evidence. Scientists today don’t just “choose” to believe something, they go off of the evidence available.

          • djmc993150

            pretty much just quoted me like I didn’t just say that. Did you expect some kind of argument when you quote me to try to refute me??

            My SECOND sentence that you basically just reworded.

            “Science is not determined by a democratic vote. Either something is true and factual and there is experimental evidence that followed all scientific rigor supporting it or it isn’t.

          • nc6228

            A consensus is reflective of the scientific evidence out there. In other words, if there’s a scientific consensus, that means something in terms of the evidence we have for it.

            You did not mention this fact.

          • djmc993150

            So you don’t know what scientific rigor is.

          • nc6228

            That’s a big accusation. I would like to see any reputable evidence of that.

          • djmc993150

            Further, consensus based on false evidence is not “consensus” built on scientific rigor. fudged data that was obscured or lied about to your colleagues is not scientific rigor.

  • jvkohl

    Re: “Let’s be clear about some key science. Evolution is a fact. Yes, it is called a theory, but I’m going to assume the typical reader knows what constitutes a scientific theory.”

    Never mind the selfish gene – ribosomes are the missing link

    What has been uncovered about the ribosome does not support any aspect of evolutionary theory.

    For comparison, see: Life as physics and chemistry: A system view of biology

    Abstract: “Cellular life can be viewed as one of many physical natural systems that extract free energy from their environments in the most efficient way, according to fundamental physical laws, and grow until limited by inherent physical constraints. Thus, it can be inferred that it is the efficiency of this process that natural selection acts upon. The consequent emphasis on metabolism, rather than replication, points to a metabolism-first origin of life with the adoption of DNA template replication as a second stage development. This order of events implies a cellular regulatory system that pre-dates the involvement of DNA and might, therefore, be based on the information acquired as peptides fold into proteins, rather than on genetic regulatory networks. Such an epigenetic cell regulatory model, the independent attractor model, has already been proposed to explain the phenomenon of radiation induced genomic instability. Here it is extended to provide an epigenetic basis for the morphological and functional diversity that evolution has yielded, based on natural selection of the most efficient free energy transduction. Empirical evidence which challenges the current genetic basis of cell and molecular biology and which supports the above proposal is discussed.”

    Anyone who claims to know the difference between evolution and a scientific theory, probably hasn’t learned why physical and chemical constraints must be included in representations of the conserved molecular mechanisms the link ecological variation to ecological adaptions in species from microbes to man. The conserved molecular mechanisms eliminate mutations because they perturb protein folding, which is how they cause pathology. Links from metabolic networks to genetic networks eliminate pathology from the context of what’s required for increasing organismal complexity.

    • Jonas Planck

      English, please.

      • jvkohl

        Science is my first language. That’s why I responded to the claim that “Evolution is a fact.” I know the difference between theory and scientific facts.

        Simply put: Life is physics and chemistry and communication

        Communication among theorists who believe mutations that perturb protein folding are beneficial and somehow lead to the evolution of biodiversity is a waste of time. Theorists are not skeptical. They accept nearly everything they are told to believe in.

        • Skeptical Raptor

          Evolution is a scientific fact. Trying to use creationism to parse that is kind of ignorant. But you know, go for it.

    • kfunk937

      Here’s the full citation (omitted from your comment):
      Life as physics and chemistry: A system view of biology, Baverstock, K, Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2013 Apr;111(2-3):108-15, doi: 0.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2012.09.002, Epub 2012 Sep 26, PMID: 23022202.

      It’s a curious cite, given the context of this article.

      In the PubMed search, I note that amongst other papers associated with this one by similarity or citation, the first results are “Consciousness, biology and quantum hypotheses,” and “The Yin and Yang of anti-Darwinian epigenetics and Darwinian genetics” suggesting a heavy woo bent and probably an Intelligent Design POV. In other words, oxymoronic theistic evolution, with a heaping helping of quasi-quantum nonsense. (Not saying that it’s definitely the case with the paper you cite, although the index for suspicion is high–I only see the abstract, after all–but that it is likely to have been so employed, regardless of the author’s intent.)

      On the other hand, less credulous efforts seem to be aimed at exploring basic questions (albeit outside our ability to do so) surrounding the abiotic origins of life itself, so maybe not entirely woo. The middle zone, if you will, is inhabited by more practical approaches such as those explicated in “Oxygen, epigenetic signaling, and the evolution of early life.” As with constraints on the (somewhat whiney) question of “but what about before the Big Bang?” we are restricted to looking at early life rather than the very first.

      More to the point of this post, the fact that theists attempt use “science,” or in this case, attempt to co-opt emerging sub-disciplines of epigenetics and systems biology, to promote ID does not mean that evolution is a subject of legitimate scientific debate. But it sounds all sciency and stuff, and lends their cause the truthiness they seek.

      One result of representing the fringe as worthy of equal consideration is described in Intelligent debate, an editorial in Nature Cell Biology discussing the Kansas State Board of Education‘s decision to

      introduce new science standards that retain the study of evolution in the curriculum but also encourage schools to teach the “scientific evidence” that questions evolution. Although they do not explicitly propose including ‘intelligent design’ in the curriculum, their assertion that the debate between evolutionary biologists and proponents of intelligent design is a scientific disagreement opens the door for introducing creationism in a new guise. Kansas faced a similar challenge in 1999, when Kansas Citizens for Science narrowly avoided a school board decision to restrict Darwinian teaching Nature 436, 753 – 753; 200510.1038/436753a . Last month, voters ousted eight ‘intelligent design’ supporters from the school board in Dover, PA, raising hopes for a reversal in Kansas before these new standards go into effect in 2007.

      The notion that the diversity and complexity of life cannot have emerged through a process of natural selection alone, but must instead have been guided by an ‘intelligent design’, has risen in prominence in recent years. Although Kansas has a history of dissent on the issue, many other US states are entering the debate, with some advocating the use of stickers in biology textbooks to warn readers that the evolutionary ideas contained are “only a theory”. Pressure on school curricula to include anti-Darwinian concepts has also surfaced in parts of Europe, although not to the same degree as in the US (Nature Cell Biol. 7, 99; 2005). More recently, it has also found favour with leading figures in the Vatican. To the American public (51% of whom reject evolution, according to a recent CBS News poll), intelligent design has been offered as a ‘scientifically valid’ alternative to evolution.

      Proponents of this movement not only portray evolution as controversial and hypothetical, but also present intelligent design as a legitimate science, freed of the religious associations of creationism by having left the designer un-named. Detractors are depicted as lacking intellectual integrity in failing to allow discussion of alternative viewpoints. The Discovery Institute, a think tank promoting intelligent design, aims to underscore the scientific rigour of their position by listing peer-reviewed papers and books on, and in support of, intelligent design on its website; including a ‘concept’ article on protein folds published in Nature (Nature, 410, 417; 2001).

      Constructing false equivalencies between science, psuedo-science and anti-science (whether AGW denialism, anti-vax quackery, anti-GMO polemics, creationism and Intelligent Design, or any number of other dumbf*ckeries) is an incidious and dangerous trend that perpetuates a dumbed-down and gullible citizenry. But what do we expect from a supposedly modern society in which a majority still profess belief in ghosts and angels?

  • Arthur Doucette

    While I generally agree with this paper, I have to disagree with the statement: “the real balance would give us 97 scientists supporting anthropogenic climate change and 2-3 against.” From the paper referenced to support this claim:

    We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers and classified each researcher into two categories: convinced by the evidence (CE) for anthropogenic climate change (ACC) or unconvinced by the evidence (UE) for ACC. We defined CE researchers as those who signed statements broadly agreeing with or directly endorsing the primary tenets of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that it is “very likely” that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for
    “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature in the second half of the 20th century. We compiled these CE researchers comprehensively from the lists of IPCC AR4 Working Group I Contributors and
    four prominent scientific statements endorsing the IPCC (n = 903; SI Materials and Methods).

    We defined UE researchers as those who have signed statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC. We compiled UE names comprehensively from 12 of the most prominent statements criticizing the IPCC conclusions (n = 472; SI Materials and Methods).

    So the reality, is they started with just 1,372 Climate researchers, of which 903 Climate Researchers who were convinced by evidence (66%) and 472 (34%) who were not.

    But 66% vs 34% certainly indicates that there is legitimate debate about the issue, so they then did this:

    We imposed a 20 climate-publications minimum to be considered a climate researcher, bringing the list to 908 researchers (Number CE = 817; Number UE = 93).

    So now they were down to just 910 researchers, of which 90% are convinced by evidence and 93 (10%) who were not.

    Still debatable, so how did they get that 90% up to 98%?

    They simply ranked them by the number of publications, and found that of the top 50 (just 5% out of their 910 researchers), only 2 were in the Unconvinced side.

    Why did they not take the top 25? Simply because then nobody would believe them if they said 100% of the researchers supported the IPCC statement.

    Secondly, let’s PARSE that statement they agreed with:

    They agreed that is was Very Likely (95% confidence)
    That MOST of the warming (anything over 50% is MOST)
    Of the “unequivocal warming” (which equals THE LOWER BOUNDS of the measured warming).
    Since the 1950s was due to Anthropogenic Greenhouse gasses.

    What does that translate to?

    From the we can see that the 1950s, were pretty much the Zero point in their measurement of temperature anomalies.

    We can see that in 2012 according to the Hadley Center the Temp anomaly from the 50s was +0.35C to +0.55C, so the UNEQUIVOCAL warming was +0.35C above the zero line.

    Most of that would be anything above 0.18 C

    So claiming that 48 out of 50 of the most prolific producers of climate papers think that it is very likely that at least 0.18C increase over the last 60 years was caused by human releases of CFCs, CH4, NOx and CO2 is REALLY not surprising at all. Nor can that limited statement be extrapolated to be supporting any other view about climate change or its likely effects or what to do about it.

    NOR does it even support the claim that 98% of climate scientists are convinced by the evidence when their own paper shows that before they started arbitrarily thinning the field only 64% were in support and 36% disagreed strongly.

    • djmc993150

      Thank you for your response, as I tried to point out to someone later, the data manipulation going on for political ends just makes their case seem fraudulent, even though I personally feel it is likely true.

  • Mike Gutowski

    Wow. I read your “manifesto” in order to gain insight into how scientist’s think. Scary, they sound like flat-earthers (not that I have ever heard them speak, of course). Darwin noted his evolution theory had some holes in it. On global warming, 97% believers has been debunked. Cover that bias with a robe, please.

    • Ryan Allen

      LOL if you are denying climate change and evolution then you need to just go away and stop voting. Your complete and willful ignorance is a detriment to our cultural integrity. You probably believe myths and fables are true stories.

      • Mike Gutowski

        Not denying climate change, as you will note if you re-read my post. I do recall reading this Newsweek story years ago when I was in high school:; and this story published in Time magazine about the same time frame:,9171,944914,00.html

        • Skeptical Raptor

          We’re all talking science here, citing peer-reviewed articles, and you’re quoting a pair of popular magazines written to sell. Real scientists in the 1970’s didn’t think that a new ice age was coming. That’s been debunked.

          You really do like making shit up.

        • cactusoft

          What would it require for you to stop relying on a 40 year old Newsweek article to cast doubt on global warming? How about the scientist himself who conducted that research saying that global warming is real and that climate deniers need to STOP using his 40 year old paper to justify their nonsense:

          Of course climate deniers are not interested in what this scientist has to say NOW, only what he said 40 years ago. He’s really wasting his breath unfortunately.

        • Matt

          No serious scientist publishes their findings in popular magazines. You have to go to peer-reviewed scholarly journals like Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or any of the hundreds of discipline-specific peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

          Citing data from Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, Scientific American, and other popular magazines doesn’t cut it. There is a rigorous protocol of having your research methods analyzed and scrutinized by fellow scientists in the former, but not in the latter.

        • FuzzyBunnyFeet

          Regarding the Newsweek article, have you read this?

          You seem to be referring to the alleged consensus of 1970’s climate scientists regarding global cooling. If so, you should read this:

    • Eric Reed

      Um, Darwin noting some holes in his work is utterly irrelevant to the current standing of evolutionary theory, some 150+ years later. The science has obviously not stood still for a century and a half and we have waaaaay more evidence that it’s fact now than Darwin had access to.

      And no, the consensus of climate scientists that global warming is real and largely man made has not been debunked, unless by debunked you mean some non-experts made some shit up.

      • Skeptical Raptor

        Science deniers, like Mike Gutowski above, think that science is static and dogmatic, kind of like religion is.

        Darwin proposed a theory that has been upgraded and improved until today that theory is essentially a fact. That Darwin proposed evolution without knowing crap about DNA, Genes, etc. etc. kind of shows how brilliant he was.

        And yeah, global warming has only been debunked by Fox News. I don’t think that counts.

    • Manuel Varela

      Darwin’s theory had holes 200 years ago, which have been fillied with numerous scientific articles by hundreds of researchers, explorer’s, scientists and others up to a point you can actually say it’s a fact. Darwin said it had “holes” because he didn’t know some of the species who gave origin to us, which he predicted to exist. Later these species were discovered by archeologists and researchers and the gaps were filled exactly or aproximately like Darwin’s theory would say it would. If researchers had found anything that could contradict Darwin’s theory, they would have studied the case and possibly ignore the theory if it was wrong. The fact is the theory is correct and there’s nothing to do about that unless keep learning and discovering new things.

      On global warming i strongly suggest you take a math course on statistics and data correlation (and general math). Learning math is a very fullfilling experience and can help you understand how measuring thousands of thngs, places, thousands of times, thousands of different ways shows that carbon dioxide causes an increase of the greenhouse effect causing global warming

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Science doesn’t “believe” anything. At that point, it’s hard to take a close-minded opinion like yours with any seriousness.

    • BlueBalls

      You’re right. The “97% of scientists” thing has been debunked. In reality, it’s 100% of scientists. Over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies on the subject have been published in the past decade and not a single one has provided any evidence to suggest that anthropogenic climate change isn’t occurring. I don’t know who these 2-3% of “scientists” are, but they aren’t publishing work in the field.

      ps: Evolution is the most robust scientific theory in existence.

      • Arthur Doucette

        Actually they are.

        From the study cited:

        We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers and classified each researcher into two categories: convinced by the evidence (CE) for anthropogenic climate change (ACC) or unconvinced by the evidence (UE) for ACC.

        We defined CE researchers as those who signed statements broadly agreeing with or directly endorsing the primary tenets of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that it is “very likely” that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for
        “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature in the second half of the 20th century. We compiled these CE researchers comprehensively from the lists of IPCC AR4 Working Group I Contributors and four prominent scientific statements endorsing the IPCC (n = 903).

        We defined UE researchers as those who have signed statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC. We compiled UE names comprehensively from 12 of the most prominent statements criticizing the IPCC conclusions (n = 472).

        So the reality, is based on 1,372 Climate researchers, they had 903 Climate Researchers who were convinced by evidence (66%) and 472 (34%) who were not.

        The 98% number only came then whittled that number down to just the top 50 researchers based on number of papers published.

        • BlueBalls

          Taken from the same study and conveniently omitted from your paste job: Furthermore, researchers with fewer than 20 climate publications comprise ≈80% the UE group, as opposed to less than 10% of the CE group. This indicates that the bulk of UE researchers on the most prominent multisignatory statements about climate change have not published extensively in the peer-reviewed climate literature.

          • Arthur Doucette

            Well first of all, that’s just a great example of moving the goal posts.

            And since when has number of studies published been relevant to the quality of the scientists who publish them?

            When I’m debating fanatics against GMOs they always trot out Giles Seralini, who while prolific, has yet to produce a compelling study.

            So these arbitrary decisions to use VOLUME instead of CONTENT are meaningless.

            When Einstein was told of the publication of a book entitled, ‘100 Authors Against Einstein’, he replied: “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

          • BlueBalls

            You aren’t getting it. My point is 100% about content. Should I just rephrase it for you? “I don’t know who these scientists are, but they aren’t publishing work that’s relevant to anthropogenic climate change.” Is that better? There is nothing in the literature to back up the view of the UE group. If these researchers are published, then either they are contributing to the wealth of data on climate change, yet are unconvinced by their own work, or they haven’t published on the topic at all. One author would be enough, but that author doesn’t exist. I assume the UE group has comparable resources to the CE group. They have every right and (presumably) the ability to form their own research questions, collect their own data, and form their own conclusions. There’s a reason why the dissenting opinion isn’t represented in the literature.

            I agree that the number of publishings shouldn’t be more important than the content. That’s a major flaw of the study cited here.
            1: At no point did the authors define what it is to be published. I know they used google scholar and that’s a fine resource, but not 100% of the results will be primary literature. Considering the study claimed that some researchers were published 300+ times, I’m assuming that a “publishing” doesn’t necessarily mean a “peer-reviewed study,” and it should have, because the peer-review process is the only way that real information is disseminated.
            2: The study was limited to climatology. Climate change is an issue that transcends discipline, and climatologists represent a small subset of scientists whose work is affected by it. There is research involving AGW in the fields of wildlife biology, ichthyology, zoology, forestry, botany, terrestrial ecology, aquatic ecology, marine biology, agriculture, soil science, wetland management, invasive species management, etc. (you can literally name any discipline within the realm of ecology). Without including this work, the dataset is less than robust. Spoiler: There is nothing in the literature of these fields to refute AGW, either.

          • Arthur Doucette

            While I tend to agree with most of what you wrote, you still haven’t acknowledged that there is NO SUPPORT for promoting the concept that 98% of climate scientists agree on anything.

            As their paper points out, based on 1,372 Climate researchers, they had 903 Climate Researchers who were convinced by evidence (66%) and 472 (34%) who were not.

            Clearly there is a LOT of disagreement about a lot of issues dealing with the nature, cause and impacts of Climate Change, and so using that BOGUS statistic doesn’t help our case, it hurts it because as I’ve shown, it really only applies to the top 50 climate scientists based on volume of papers and only to a statement about climate change which is nearly meaningless.

            But that is NOT what the article above implied is it?

            It stated:” a real high impact factor, extremely well respected journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, analyzed climate change science, and determined that 97-98% of researchers in climate science supported the tenets of human influenced climate change.”

            Well first of all the Journal did no such analysis, it in fact did nothing but publish the paper, and the stated conclusion is clearly NOT that ” 97-98% of researchers in climate science supported the tenets of human influenced climate change.”, but only that 48 out of the top 50 based on arbitrarily defined limits, mainly based upon volume of recent published articles, believe a very modest statement made by the IPCC.

            NOT THE SAME THING.

            So in general these sophomoric attempts to curtail debate by appealing to this imagined 98% consensus of authority are NOT helping.

            Act like an actual scientist.
            Discuss SPECIFIC issues.
            Provide ACTUAL studies to support your case.
            Post DATA that supports your conclusions.
            But don’t argue that the issue has been resolved because 98% of X believe Y, because Y is nearly meaningless and even the 98% is not a fair portrayal of the level of agreement on the overall issue.

    • His Shadow

      Glad that we continue to hear from the Fox News contingent.

      Listen, because this will help you in future comments…

      When you talk about Darwin as if he was the only one that promoted evolution and that not much has changed since he published “On the Origin of the Species”, you expose your complete and utter ignorance of the state of scientific evidence for evolution. Refrain from commenting on Darwin or evolution til you dispel your ignorance.

  • Jim Valley

    Why is the overlap between (a) people who deny science along with its methods and conclusions and (b) people who are conservative evangelical Christian fundamentalists nearly 1:1?

    How can America possibly move forward when it is saddled with an organized movement of religious zealots intent on eliminating any forward progress for individuals, the nation, or the species? Why are they like this? How can we get rid of them? We can’t go on like this much longer, can we? I am so sick of religion in the world I can hardly stand it.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Unfortunately, there are liberals who deny science too. GMO refusers and antivaccination groups are generally left wing. PETA is considered left-wing, and they are destructive to real science.

      So, I’m not one to lump science denialism with political beliefs. All science deniers piss me off, but I’ll admit, I loathe liberal science deniers, because they just shouldn’t. They’re supposed to be smarter than the ignorant right wing.

      • Jim Valley

        Yes, but right-wingers insist that their crazy anti-science beliefs be taught to school students, demanding for example that the nonsense of creationism be taught in SCIENCE CLASS!
        Your false equivalency is, well, false. Liberals reject a FEW scientific conclusions like the ones you mentioned. I agree that this is stupid. Conservatives reject ALL scientific conclusions on any subject. This is far, FAR stupider.

  • Marty Holden

    Excuse me climate deniers, but what’s the real problem with taking a less destructive method of generating energy and reducing our impact on the environment? Would you sell 1,2,5, or 10 years of your grand children’s life expectancy for a little more comfort today? Really, it’s just an issue with ethics. How little do you sell yours for?

  • Reenee Cummins

    The problem now is that many big companies do bad science in a rush to get a drug or other chemical product on the market. I have repeatedly seen well-written, serious articles on this rush to market and a scientist called out and down for the bad science. I understand the “need the paycheck thing” but at some point the scientific community has to say enough.

    • Lawrence McNamara

      And yet still only about 1 out of 100 drugs or treatments that you claim are “rushed” through the process actually get approved…..and one reason that some treatments are “rushed” as you say, is become of the social pressure by certain interest groups to get what might look like promising treatments for some serious diseases into the hands of patients, without waiting for the necessary safety and efficacy trials to be completed.

      As much as medical professionals want to be able to help everyone, there is the fact that we need to let the process go through its normal channels and time frame (i.e. how long does it take to approve a drug – as long as it takes).

      And a lot of what you consider “rushed” aren’t – people love to play that card without actually knowing how long a particular drug or treatment has been under investigation or in trials.

    • Larry

      There certainly is not and can not be a “rush to market” in the Pharma industry. Takes years and sometimes a decade or more and still most do not get approved.

      • Skeptical Raptor

        90% of drugs that enter clinical trials do not get final FDA approval. Half fail at Phase 1. People tend to make up crap as they go along without actually knowing anything.

        • RONonymous

          Are you a male growing breasts or a woman having problems with her transvaginal mesh? Call the Relion group!

    • Ryan Allen

      The problem now, actually, is people like you speaking from a place of complete ignorance and presenting it as fact.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Just because YOUR moral compass can be purchased for a few bucks, doesn’t mean that a scientist can be bought out. I am a scientist. And I worked for Big Pharma. And I published an article that effectively killed a product in which we invested nearly $100 million, because it didn’t work. No one cared. We moved on. Because we have ethics.

      Don’t apply your disgusting moral choices to others. It’s pathetic.

  • Craig Eisenhart

    I forget to add…. The warming climate will be dangerours to Earth ONLY as the sun runs out of gas. The climate shrills should start with Darwin for their education.

    • Lawrence McNamara

      A warming climate is potentially extremely dangerous to us – because although it has been warmer in the past, it hasn’t been with a mechanized society, dependent upon a fragile global transportation network with over 7 Billion people on the planet.

      Ignoring that reality doesn’t make it go away – or perhaps you’ve thought of the correct solution for relocating some 250 Million Bangladeshi’s who happen to live on lands that will be underwater if the current sea level rises continue?

    • Skeptical Raptor

      I’m pretty sure you know nothing about the future evolution of the solar system. Before the sun “runs out of gas” (and it doesn’t use gas, it uses nuclear fusion), it will grow to the point in 1 billion years, where all life, and I mean all, will be burnt to a crisp.

      As for climate and Darwin? WTF?

      • Myles

        (The sun does run on gas)

  • Craig Eisenhart

    Raptor, you’re an idiot. The first tenant of the scientific process is observation. Observe the last 550 million years climate data. Warmer than now.

    Always changing.
    Observe the last 1 1/2 million year climate data. Always changing, but mostly ice age.
    You claim Climate warming is dangerous. The DNA in your vesicles don’t give a darn where the warmth comes from.How did the Earth make it? How did humans make it. T

    Your bitterness and political beliefs have left you a shadow of a scientist. I have a DMD and taught Ecology at Juniata College. I AM a scientist. If you think a PhD is necessary to be a scientist, you’re a conceited asshole as well as an idiot.

    The first Doctors were people of letters; English Majors. Stick that down your pipe and smoke it!
    Most Climate Scientist are honest , hard working people who believe what they are doing. And I believe them too. There are some ( Hansom and Mann come to mind) who are hysterics that conveniently ignore the observable biological consequences of climate changes . The sky is falling three stooges routine.They are the self centered, insecure who need reassurance what they do is noticed.

    I write in run on sentences so you have to think about what I am saying. Its my insecurity. I am going to drop out of your Blog. You’re a vulgar, bitter dork.
    PS GMO’s are fine with me. Your vesicles don’t know where their nucleic acids come from either.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      A dentist is NOT a scientist. Whatever.

      But the stupidity of your comments are just so laughable, that I know why you’re at some lame religious school with no reputation in science.

      If we go back 700 million years ago, the earth was frozen solid. Not any oceans. Nothing.

      So what does this tell us? NOTHING YOU PUTZ.

      We are in an interglacial period that’s not supposed to be this warm. And we can measure the temperature globally vs. CO2 concentration to find correlation and causality.

      Your passive-aggressive statement about climate scientists probably make them laugh. You know nothing. You’re just an idiot. I suggest you go back to pulling teeth, because you are incapable of writing or understanding science.

      • RONonymous

        How do you know its not supposed to be this warm? Do you have some kind of book that we are supposed to be living by that says it is supposed to be this warm? Almost sounds like a religion to me.

  • Anders Westlund

    Quote: “However, the real balance would give us 97 scientists supporting anthropogenic climate change and 2-3 against. Yes, a real high impact factor, extremely well respected journal, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, analyzed climate change science, and determined that 97-98% of researchers in climate science supported the tenets of human influenced climate change.”

    This is a non-scientific argument. Science isn’t settled with consensus or majority. Science is settled with use of “The Scientific Method”: An argument based on The Scientific Method (systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses) is a scientific argument. Can someone please tell me if this is the method IPCC has used?

    I also want to remind of the definition of pseudoscience ( “Pseudoscience is a claim, belief or practice which is falsely presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting scientific evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, ….. Pseudoscience is often characterized by …. an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts,” Can someone please tell med how the CO2-hypotesis has been reliably tested with attempts at refutation. And I would also like to know where IPCCs data, methods and statistical calculations are descriebed with an openness so it can be evaluated by other experts.

    • Ryan Allen

      Clean out your desk. You are fired.

      • Anders Westlund

        “Clean out your desk. You are fired”

        I am sorry Mister Allen, but I think you are mistaking me for someone else. You are not my employer.

        • Skeptical Raptor

          It’s a metaphor. I know, your language skills are taxed by 3 syllable words.

          • Anders Westlund

            I am a Norwegian and as long as english is not my mother tongue, it’s a lot of english words I don’t understand. For example, I don’t know what syllable means.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Your arguments are laughable, ignorant, and quite stupid. A scientific consensus isn’t based on some vote or anything. It is based on the wealth of evidence, both of quality and of quantity.

      Science is about the general principles that are derived from the evidence that is found through scientific method. You’re simply an ignorant, ill-educated fool who is close-minded. If you’re going to argue with me stick with the evidence. Else wise, I just call you names, because you don’t have fucking stick of evidence.

      Go find your pseudoscience in your denialism dumbass.

      • Anders Westlund

        “If you’re going to argue with me stick with the evidence.”

        Same to you. If you want to argue with me, please show me some evidence derived with The Scientific Method. If you don’t have “a fucking stick of evidence” derived with The Scientific Method your belief is nothing but pseudoscience.

        • David Kirk

          Anders, if I may, the author was not suggesting by any means that scientific issues be settled through democratic means or through consensus. What I think he was saying, that there are certain groups who try to present a topic as if there is an equal amount of dissent, disagreement, incredulity, whatever and this is where the false equivalency comes in. So you’re right in saying that taking a vote is no way to prove a scientific claim and that the scientific method ought to be used to come to a conclusion and that is the same thing that the scientists who published in the peer review journals did that were then analyzed to show that there is a “consensus” among scientists with regards to ACC.
          Again, these are just my thoughts based on what I read. I am, but a history major with an MBA and not a scientist.

          • Anders Westlund

            Dear David. What do you actually mean? That there is an evidence for ACC derived by The Scientific Method? If so, could you please tell where I can find it/where it is described?

    • Arthur Doucette

      Each IPCC report includes a separate report titled “The Physical Scientific Basis”, which is produced by Working Group 1 and explains the science behind the actual Assessment Report. See : It is pretty extensive, but to clarify, there is no such thing as “IPCC Data”. The IPCC relies primarily on the analysis of many published scientific papers, each of which is responsible for reporting/publishing their data. Most do a decent job of doing that via supplemental materials, though there are some exceptions (M Mann for instance claimed it was his data and wouldn’t release it, but I’d say that’s the exception, not the rule). Of course huge amounts of the basic climatic data comes from sources such as NOAA, NASA, NSIDC, Hadley Center, EIA and EPA etc, and they all publish their data on such things as global temperature anomalies, sea level changes, GHG concentrations, land use changes, fossil fuel consumption, Storm and Hurricane data, rainfall data, snow cover, Sea Ice levels, Glacier patterns etc etc.

      • Anders Westlund

        Is there an evidence derived with The Scientific Method hidden here somewhere?

        • Arthur Doucette

          Not hidden at all.

          In plain sight.

          If you bother to read the link I posted.

          Probably the best example of the use of the Scientific Method though would be the Global Climate Models, which are really massive extensions of our Weather forecasting models, operating on a global basis and over century timescales. The models use “hind casting” to show that they can, given the best known inputs, model the past climates correctly, and then given various future scenarios they forecast forward (hypothesize) and then the actual results compared to the actual values are used to tweak the models to make them ever more reliable. We have yet to tweak the scenarios, but that will come eventually. It certainly has worked well for weather forecasting, and it is slowly getting better at climate modeling.
          Are they perfect, far from it, they all are running hot, most of them very hot, but its a start.

          Other key scientific data that is obtained via the scientific method would be forceings based on concentrations of GHGs. Residence times (how long a pulse of gas lasts in the atmosphere). Cycling times of various gases, albedo effects of various land use changes, snow and ice cover etc etc.

          • Anders Westlund

            Quote: “If you bother to read the link I posted.” My answer: If you bother to study the principles of The Scientific Method.

            Please tell me: Have the climate models been tested by systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses? If I understand correctly what you write, the prosess is going on, but far from finished. Quote: “Are they [the models] perfect, far from it, they all are running hot, most of them very hot, but its a start.”

            Anyway, it would be interesting to know the dataes, analyzis and results that are used. Could you please tell me where they are described. (PS. Please don’t send me the answer that the tests are descriebed somewhere inside the 6.000 pages of the IPCC report, but that I have to find them myself.)

          • Arthur Doucette

            I talked about how the models were verified by hind-casting. In other words the ability to start in the past and accurately model the known climate going forward. That could not have been done without running the models (which is a test), observation of the results, and then modification of the models to get ever closer match between the models and the actual climate. In other words the scientific method. Same going forward. The models were run, now modelers look at what happened and are again adjusting their models to more closely match what happened. As I said, the models were running hot, but that doesn’t mean the general trends of the models and the climate aren’t in sync. The IPCC relies on a number of different models (6 in fact, see the Scientific basis) and you have to go to the home site for each of the models to get detail data on the actual construction and testing of that specific model. The IPCC report itself does contain the specifics for the various Scenarios (those story lines that provide the input to the models for future dates with data on population growth, GHG growth, land use changes etc), so all in all the many models run against the many scenarios provide over 30 trend lines that show a WIDE variation in future climate. If the climate were to respond as shown in the hottest models running the worst scenario our goose would literally be cooked. On the other hand if the climate were to respond to the coolest model running the best scenario, no problemo. The IPCC reports tend to focus on models in the middle of the pack with moderate scenarios. (which are still running a bit hot, but not by much). More details and lots of links to this can be found here: and a book on the subject I’d recommend here:

          • Anders Westlund

            Quote: “the many models run against the many scenarios provide over 30 trend lines that show a WIDE variation in future climate. …. The IPCC reports tend to focus on models in the middle of the pack with moderate scenarios.”

            I agree that making and testing of models the way you describe is in accordance with The Scientific Method and it is one step towards greater knowledge. But before the spesific models have been verified or falsified (both are possible) we havn’t come any further. If a model, that rely on CO2 as a major temperature driving factor, is verified, we might be talking. But as you write yourself: “the many scenarios provide over 30 trend lines that show a WIDE variation in future climate”. So no evidence yet.

            There’s a lot of other things in what you write that I could have commented, but that is more details.

          • Arthur Doucette

            Not sure what you mean by “we haven’t come any further”. The models indeed help us understand the climate better and make reasonable predictions, based on a set of possible inputs, what the future climate will be like. That said, they are only a guide, and indeed, where the models don’t agree with what happens that’s when we are forced to look into why they don’t and refine them even further, based on the actual data that we measure. An example is that one of the reasons they are running hotter appears to be that the oceans are showing a greater ability to absorb energy and move it to deeper levels then thought. This means the globe is warming as expected, but the surface air temps aren’t warming as fast as the models earlier predicted. But to dismiss them because they are not perfect is silly. They are a tool, and at this point a very good tool to show the likely impacts of changes in climate based on reasonable assumptions of future population, ghg emissions and land use changes.

          • Anders Westlund

            Before some of the models have been either verified or falsified, we havnt come any further.

            Quote: “based on reasonable assumptions …” That is just what I am afraid might be the correct term: Assumptions – not knowledge.

          • Arthur Doucette

            The models are used to project climatic changes in the future, since EXACT data for population growth, GHG growth, land use changes isn’t possible, one has to use assumptions, but we have shown that our projections of these things is actually pretty good at least for near term.

            So all you are saying is you are against models of the future because we don’t know the future.

            Sorry, but that’s a pretty poor reason to discount all the SCIENCE that went into creating the models and the scenarios.

          • Anders Westlund

            As I wrote above: “Before some of the models have been either verified or falsified, we havnt come any further.” Could you please tell me where I can find the observations, the data, the analyzis etc. that verifies the models.

          • Arthur Doucette

            Sure, go to the original IPCC report. It has the results of the model runs from 1990, 25 years ago. They are pretty accurate for the “business as usual” scenario, which in fact is pretty much exactly what has happened over the last 25 years.


            You can then go to each subsequent IPCC report and see how the previous observations and projections have been updated as more data was accumulated and as the models were improved.

          • Anders Westlund

            This is an answer I have got many times before: “The answer is somewhere inside the IPCC report, but you have to find it yourself, because I can’t find it for you.” (I will also remind you of the last section in this comment:

            Please tell me where in the report I am supposed to read.

          • Arthur Doucette

            I did tell you.
            And I provided the link to both the current and the AR1.
            The AR1 report is not 6,000 pages, just a bit over 300
            Chap 3 is on Processes and Modelling.
            Chap 4 is on Validation of Climate Models.

            You will have to do the work to read them yourself and compare the predictions made then to what has happened since.

            If you do some more research (by reading relevant sections of the subsequent reports) you will see how much more sophisticated the models are today from the ones used in the late 80s to make that report (just look at the vast difference in computing and the availability to model anything since then)

          • Anders Westlund

            The spesific report you mention might not be 6000 pages, so you are a little better then those telling me to read all the IPCCs reports. But the principp is the same and 300 pages are still a lot to read. You are the one making the claim that this report can tell how the models are verified in a scientific way, so you should be able to tell me where (pages/chapters) in the report the description is found and preferably what the description is.

            By the way: Scientists are usually not satisfied with only one verified case, usually they want several verifications, made by several independent researches, to be convinced.

          • Anders Westlund

            This is an answer I have got many times before: “The answers you are looking for is somewhere inside the IPCC reports. But you have to find it yourself, because I can’t tell you where it is.”

            Please tell where in the reports I can find it.

            (I will also remind you of what I wrote in the last section of this comment:

          • John Zohn

            Arthur you’re a character, back in October you were taking the AGW skeptics side arguing with me that none of the predictions are coming true, now your arguing with Anders saying they are. Dude, face it, you’re a troll!

          • Arthur Doucette

            Don’t take my posts out of context John.

            I’ve said here that the models are running hot.
            They are.
            I’ve also said that the climatic trends are broadly correct.
            They are.
            Those aren’t contradictory.

            I’m against claims that we know little about climate and our models are useless, just as much as I’m against claims that only use the high end projections of the hottest models and the most outlandish scenarios for fear mongering.

            If you’ll notice I argued against that silly 98% statistic as well. Doesn’t mean I don’t understand the science.

          • John Zohn

            This is an actual quote you made in the third week of October:

            “The FACT is that the skeptics have largely been correct, NONE of the SCARE MONGERING FEAR STORIES have come true.There are in fact FEWER (both number and percent) of HUNGRY people today than there were in 1990, so clearly the climate has NOT prevented us from dealing with 30% more people. Nor are there any climate refugees, nor ANY of the extreme predictions have come true”

            Then you stated this next quote, as you defended the coal industry by minimizing the widespread devastation caused by mountain top mining as you glorified how clean coal is:
            “Skeptics, as in ME, have to spend our time correcting LIES spread by fear mongers like YOU.”

            Do you still think that AGW hasn’t increased the magnitude, severity and frequency of droughts, floods, storms, fire, melting Arctic ice and temperature increases?

          • Arthur Doucette

            And I stand by that post today, just as when I made it, nor does anything I have posted here contradict that statement.

            Notice it is directed at Scare Mongering Fear Stories, you know the ones about millions of climate refugees (not happening), about massive reductions in crops because of climate (Opposite is happening), so NO, none of the EXTREME predictions have come true.

            The IPCC does not claim there is evidence for more widespread storms or hurricanes, and the globe is a tad warmer and wetter over-all, so no, those predictions are shown to be false by the fact that in the last 30 years we have produced 17% more calories per person even as the population went up 70%.


            There isn’t “widespread devastation” from coal mining. We only do it in relatively few areas and they reclaim the land.

            See, just more hyperbole.

            The issue of AGW is NOT what has happened, it is what WILL happen if we don’t rein in world population growth and global emissions. The latter is only possible if we do the former.

            There is a huge difference, even if you can’t see it.

          • John Zohn

            I guess it’s just a matter of opinion as to whether the coal industry is creating widespread devastation. I get the impression that if it’s not occurring in the bubble you live in it’s insignificant. The coal industry has leveled some 500 mountains in Appalachia and the count is always increasing. Those operations dump to whole mountain tops into the streams and areas on the sides of the mountains. After they have extracted the seams of coal from the mountains they leave large lakes of a toxic black liquid called slurry. Your reclamation claim is just pure corporate propaganda that is commonly referred to as “greenwashing”. You can view most of this devastation in Google Earth. Look at those satellite images and then tell me about your reclamation claim. It’s so wide spread that Google Earth has an option for “Appalachian Mountaintop Removal”. It’s the first option underneath the “Global Awareness” Layer. You might believe it’s just insignificant because you don’t have to see it and it didn’t happen to you.

            I also stand by my post that you just love arguing with people. Anyone who has viewed your profile can confirm it. You twist your science research to suit your argument. You’ve used redirection, minimization and maximization (just to name a few techniques) to keep an argument going to have the last word.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            John, I wouldn’t conflate “opinion” with “denying scientific evidence.” Don’t give him that much credit.

          • Arthur Doucette

            No, its not a matter of opinion since you can quantify it, like most things.

            So just a cursory look at it shows that the Appalachian area, running from Mississippi to upper NY is 205,000 sq miles.


            A closer look will show that almost all mountain top mining is in a relatively small area of that:


            Easily less then 1/2 of the North-Central region.

            Or at most 20,000 sq miles.

            Which is 2/10ths of 1% of North America and numbers like that are sort of the definition of insignificant.

            But still, if even 20,000 square miles had suffered “widespread devastation” as you called it, I wouldn’t call that insignificant, but of course that’s not the case.

            Google Earth can help:

            Here’s Muhlenberg County (made popular in a John Denver Song), find the devastation?



            So when you consider that Coal has provided us with nearly half of our electricity for about a century, its pretty clear what we paid for that, in physical damage to the environment, has been insignificant.

            In contrast, consider Fukushima (and I’m a supporter of Nuclear power), the area that has been left uninhabitable is in fact significant. add in Chernobyl and you can see the difference in areas.

            Or consider Oil?

            now add in all the refinery explosions.

            Yes I like to debate, because I don’t like misinformation being spread on important subjects.
            I do it with facts and links that I post so they can be verified.

            If I’m ever shown that my facts are wrong, I correct them for all future use and on message boards that remain open and accessible to me I will post a correction.

            Sorry if that method is upsetting to you.

          • John Zohn

            Thank you for your dissertation but you just did everything I just said about you. I have absolutely no clue what your map of city that the John Denver song came from but that’s a perfect example of redirection. The map you linked to didn’t have the Appalachian mountaintop mining layer to it so I really never figured out it’s relevance.

            Then you go with minimization, with your link to The Appalachian Regional Commission. That report didn’t say anything about the relationship between the minor reduction in poverty to the mountaintop mining.
            But when I searched for “Appalachian Regional Commission mountain top mining” this is the first link that came up from


            Here’s the conclusion of the NCBI scientific article on “Health-Related Quality of Life Among Central Appalachian Residents in Mountaintop Mining Counties”

            “Conclusions. Mountaintop mining areas are associated with the greatest reductions in health-related quality of life even when compared with counties with other forms of coal mining.”

            Then you use the maximization “that Coal has provided us with nearly half of our electricity for about a century” after you just agreed that “The issue of AGW is NOT what has happened, it is what WILL happen if we don’t rein in world population growth and global emissions.”

            Did you look at the massive area that is effected by mountain top mining on Google Earth? It spans 4 states- Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.


            That’s a link to the map of mountain top mining locations shortly after Bush appointed Steven Griles to the position Deputy Secretary of the Dept of Interior. Steven Griles was a coal industry lobbyist who fought the Dept of Interior tooth and nail to deregulate mountain top mining before he became secretary of the Dept he had fought to dismantle.

            Face it dude your a troll who just spins research to keep a argument going!
            And incidentally, your “method isn’t upsetting to me”, Actually, I find it kind of amusing that you spend so much time looking up material just for the sake of spinning it to keep an argument going.

          • John Zohn

            Here’s a couple more scientific abstracts describing the health, quality of life, poverty and mental health of people living specifically in the parts of Appalachia effected by MTR:
            “The Effects of Mountaintop Removal, Coal Mining on Mental Health, Well-Being, and Community Health in Central Appalachia”


            Poverty and Mortality Disparities in Central Appalachia:
            Mountaintop Mining and Environmental Justice


            Keep on telling me how insignificant MTR is and I’ll keep posting articles on the massive destruction and tolls on the environment and Human quality of life.

          • Arthur Doucette


            Again, nobody saying that moutaintop mining doesn’t have any negative impacts, just that they are insignificant in the over-all scheme of things. As in area affected and number of people involved.

            No energy form is without its share of negative impacts.


            From your study.

            Of the 1148 counties in the national 2006 BRFSS, 120 (10.4%) were located within the 4-state region. The 120 counties represent 29.7% of the total 404 counties in the 4 states. These counties included 19 of 32 (59.0%) MTM counties in the region,

            So 32 counties represent ~1% of the counties in the US, so clearly it is in fact limited.

            But they also say this about the population of those MTM counties that they surveyed:

            Of the 120 counties they surveyed, they had only 19 that had MTM in them and but 1,428 people in their survey.

            Of those people half were current or former smokers and 499 were obese.

            So what were the ACTUAL results, you know disease rates, death rates?



            Residents of mountaintop mining counties reported significantly more days of poor physical, mental, and activity limitation and poorer self-rated health (P < .01) compared with the other county groupings.

            But yeah, the people there are mainly overweight heavy smokers who drink a lot, but you blame it on coal and MTM.

            As to Devastated the area, hardly.

            This map is centered on that area with the most MTM.


            Clearly NOT devastated.

          • John Zohn

            I have no idea why you keep linking to these maps that don’t have any Mountain Top Mining layer. It’s pretty deceptive considering all the effort you have attempted to minimize the how extensive the damage is. I don’t need to see your maps of the isolated areas that you keep posting. I know how to find the actual areas and images of the effected areas that span 4 states. Yea just a tiny area compared to the whole United States and even smaller when you compare it to the size of the universe. It’s easy for you to minimize anything you want to be the biggest troll around. But we got it, all those scientific studies are useless unless they’re describing how great GMOs are, then they’re golden. They are just a bunch of poor people anyway living in poverty conditions so they’re just insignificant-right? And incidentally they don’t blame it on the coal and MTR, it’s mostly the toxic lakes of coal slurry and the sludge dams that seep into the surrounding areas drinking water. The way you manipulated the data about the area involved and minimizing and dismissing the suffering caused by MTR reminds me of the way Time Share salesman manipulate the numbers to sell them.
            It’s easy to do and if anyone doesn’t actually look at the whole picture, they might believe you. But the whole picture is available right there on Google Earth under the “Global Awareness” > “Mountaintop Mining” layer.
            The facts are available, but not from your deceptive links. And if you look at all the evidence and view all the damage in all the states involved, THEY CLEARLY ARE DEVASTATED

          • Arthur Doucette

            Oh BULL.
            I showed the Google Map version of the most heavily mountain top mined area. Clearly it is NOT devastated as you claim.

            I’ve never said that there aren’t negative local effects from coal mining.

            Of course there are.
            There are negative local effects from ANY energy source, including Nuclear, Oil, NG, Hydro, Wind and Solar.

            You just don’t want to put those in proportion to the benefit we get from those energy sources.

            If we restricted energy that had no negative impact we would be living in caves (how many caves are there John?)

            If we restricted our activities that had no environmental impact we would NEVER have started farming. Never have built cities or suburbs. Never have allowed the use of cars.

            Were these bad things?

            NO John, they weren’t.
            But each of them required a LOT of energy

            You apparently want to go back to living like we did in the stone age. Well do so, but don’t bother the rest of us.

          • Arthur Doucette

            Arguing with a LUDDITE like you John is pointless. You want us to go back to living in caves.

            Get used to disapointment.

          • John Zohn

            But don’t fret none Arthur, when someone uses fallacies to back up their argument on an article that defines several types of fallacies its seriously amusing!
            I’m sorry if you don’t like it when someone calls you out on the opinionated BS that you pose as objective logic, but you’ll get over it and go on to continue doing it.

            “But yeah, the people there are mainly overweight heavy smokers who drink a lot, but you blame it on coal and MTM.”
            Are you trying to imply that all of the smokers and drinkers in Appalachia are confined to the mountain top mining areas? Those studies isolated those areas as having significantly lower qualities of life than even the other coal mined areas. Nice try.

            “If we restricted energy that had no negative impact we would be living in caves (how many caves are there John?)”
            Considering we’re humans and have the ability for analytical reasoning, the damage we’re causing is visible and evident. You believe all of the corporate PR, front groups and right wing think tanks that promote destructive practices to the environment and loss of consumer protections. There are sources of energy that are way less destructive than coal and with time and research they are improving in efficiency.

            But keep on trolling away Arthur, considering the time you spend doing it, I would bet it’s what you do best!

          • Arthur Doucette

            Hilarious John.
            You point to a PUSH study, where they have nothing more than a SELF REPORTED survey of just 1,400 people, half of whom are obese people who smoke and drink, and complain that they have a few more days than normal of feeling bad (ILL DEFINED and NOT medically supported), as your PROOF the area has been DEVASTATED.

            You have proved nothing more than you are a Luddite.


          • John Zohn

            Is that the absolute best your little troll brain can come up with? Seriously Arthur, I think you’re losing it!

            Actually I posted 3 scientific research articles addressing the decreased lower quality of health specifically in MTR regions. There’s a whole lot more that address the Chronic cardiovascular disease mortality rates, Cancer rates, environmental costs, quality of the water supply containing neurotoxic and carcinogenic chemicals including acrylamides, arsenic, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, nickel and dozens of other toxic chemicals, damage to vulnerable ecosystems and birth defect frequencies in these regions. I can post more if you keep minimizing it but here’s a couple that you can try to spin your agenda on:

            This one concludes “The prevalence rate ratio (PRR) for any birth defect was significantly higher in mountaintop mining areas compared to non-mining areas”

            The association between mountaintop mining and birth defects among live births in central Appalachia, 1996–2003:

            Here’s one that concludes: “Prior to covariate adjustment, chronic CVD mortality rates were significantly higher in both mining areas compared to non mining areas and significantly highest in MTM areas. After adjustment, mortality rates in MTM areas remained significantly higher and increased as a function of greater levels of surface mining.

            The covariate adjustment “included smoking rate, rural-urban status, percent male population, primary care physician supply, obesity rate, diabetes rate, poverty rate, race/ethnicity rates, high school and college education rates, and Appalachian county.”
            But I have no doubt that because it doesn’t suit your agenda you’ll twist that one around too.

            But keep using your time share math (fallacies of composition) to come to the conclusions that suit your agenda so you can keep on trolling away!

  • Craig Eisenhart

    The science….physics of global/anthropogenic climate change is irrefutable. However…. Manhattan was covered by thousands of feet of ice 18,000 years ago. I’m 66 and have been alive 1 of every 273 days since then. The last of the Laurentide glacier that covered Manhattan melted a mere 6000 years ago in the Swampy Bay River area of Quebec. I have been alive 1 0f every 90 days since then. The solar hypisthemal was 8000 years ago. Why did the galciers exhist when it was the warmest? ( I know the answer, do you?)
    The natural progression described by Milanosovitch 80 years ago show a natural warming that makes a piss ant out of the estimates of anthropogenic warming. We’ll be lucky to avoid the unavoidable…. another mile of ice over Manhattan.
    The predictions attributable to anthropogenic warming need a rear view mirror. The predictions of most “climate”experts seem prey to the same foolishness the climate deniers have about global warming. During the last climate maximum know as the Sangamonian the Greenland glaciers melted, and the sea was 20 feet higher than now. The complete melting at Greenland happened very late in that solar cycle.History shows it HAPPENED without man made warming, and who’s to say it won’t happen with or without man? The Younger Dryas show njust how lightning fast climat change happens, Climatologist need schooling in Earth’s Natural History, and a whole lot better knowledge of genetics/biiology.
    Did you know Polar Bears as a race of Grizzley/Brown bear have been a separate breeding population only for 2 of the last climate cycles? (250,000 years)

    • Skeptical Raptor

      I don’t know what your point is, but if you’re proposing something that refutes the FACT of man made global warming, bring evidence in the form of peer reviewed articles. Then show me the number of those compared to the number that support the FACT of global warming.

      If this is your opinion or belief, then get off your fat ass, get a Ph.D. in say geology, study for about 10 years accumulating contradictory evidence, get it published, and try to change the consensus. But what will really happen is that either you are simply too lazy to do so, or you will be convinced of the data.

      Either way, you have nothing to contribute to the science, because you don’t have evidence. You just have rhetoric.

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  • flydlbee

    John Cook’s “97%” figure has been shown to be grossly misleading.

    The so-called Cook Report was published in Environmental Research Letters, a journal published by the UK Institute of Physics. The Cook Report has been dissected by Professor Legates and others at the University of Delaware where Dr Legates is Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware. Professor Legates, in his paper which he published in the journal Science and Education, found that only 41 papers of the 11,944 abstracts in the Cook report – or 0.3 percent – endorsed the position that global warming since 1950 has been anthropogenic! Dr Craig Idso. Dr Nils Axel Morner, Nicola Scafetta. Dr Nir J Shaviv all have protested that Cook misrepresented their work. (see “Climate Consensus and misinformation: scientific consensus and the teaching and learning of climate change” Journal of Science and Education.)

    Why do people keep on quoting it as though scinece is some kind of democracy?

    • 4thedition

      Bait and switch. You will pretend that science isn’t based on consensus (WHICH IT IS) until it somehow suits your agenda.

    • Rolo Mictlantecuhtli
      • Skeptical Raptor

        I have no clue what the Cook report is, I based my information on the PNAS article you quoted, and I used in my article. I guess Fydlbee can’t read. Oh well.

  • Ken Bingham

    This article is another reason why people are turned off of global warming. The arrogance and condescending attitude of global warming proponents.

    • CelticMarauder .

      That’s nothing compared to folks on your side, Ken. Those of us who stand with the mainstream scientific community are quite regularly called sheeple, fools, shills, liberals (as if that’s a valid insult), and all other manner of condescending names. Maybe you should remove the beam from your side’s eyes before pointing out the speck in ours.

      • Skeptical Raptor

        I wonder if he knows the “pot calling the kettle black” metaphor? Oh well.

    • 4thedition

      Global warming proponents = people who accept reality.

    • 4thedition

      I’m not sure if you know this, but being condescending doesn’t make someone wrong.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Who cares? I have evidence that supports the FACT of global warming. If you think that’s condescension, then you’re an idiot. Oh wait.

    • Ryan Allen

      Aw boo hoo. “I don’t believe facts because you weren’t nice to me.” What you are saying is bonafide evidence that climate change deniers (re: evolution deniers, religious apologists, etc.) Are just plain fucking stupid, pathetic cowards who think their own feeling of self importance is worth more than the continued existence of the human race. If you don’t want to be condescended to, then stop acting like a fucking moron.

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  • Brad Schierer

    While I support your general premise that arguments with solid evidence are inherently stronger than those without, and further that science deniers are guilty of stacking the deck as well as correlative fallacies in their reasoning, your definition of false equivalence is wrong.

    False equivalence is a flaw in argument by comparison, NOT argument by cause and effect, e.g. false equivalence is saying that dogs and cats are the same because they have fur, NOT that dogs make better pets because they have better fur. Nor is it that same as false balance which suggests that opposing viewpoints on all issues ought to merit the same consideration regardless of evidence.

    • cybernetichero

      Now I would say that both cats and dogs have a suite of attributes both good and bad and each is a good choice for different reasons. Your argument is also flawed because you made a value judgement between two objective factors (dog fur and cat fur) that’s like saying that oranges are somehow superior to apples because they have a lighter colour. :)

      • Brad Schierer

        I’m not arguing anything other than the author’s definition of false equivalence is wrong. And of course the argument re: cats and dogs is flawed; it’s an example of such.

        • JElc

          I think false equivalence is appropriate: What denialists, or anti-vaxxers, etc. are saying is “you have studies, I have studies, we should be taken with equal weight” when “having studies” is not a sufficient condition for being given equal weight in argument, because studies differ in quality, quantity, etc.

          That’s a false equivalence between the position of science and the position of denialists, based on the fact that both have the property “having studies” for example.

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  • NavinJay

    If it weren’t for so many people looking through telescopes and figuring out the nature of our tiny insignificant planet compared to the rest of the cosmos, these science deniers would still be saying the Earth is the center of the universe as it had been interpreted in the Bible for, what, 1000 years or more? Only recently did they recant their position with Galileo and forgave him for putting him in jail. Not to mention those scientists the church put to death. The Bible is the end all be all. The proof of the Bible is only found in the Bible. That is no proof of anything. Studying the natural world and figuring out the TRUE nature of things is how science works.

    • cybernetichero

      I read an article in Analog Science Fiction/Fact about how the Earth centred universe was wrong but for the right reason (it fit the observed data of the time) but Copernicus’ model where the Sun is the centre of the solar system was right for the wrong reason (The Sun being the brightest object must be closer to God and thus should be at the centre where he was).

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  • M J

    Skeptical Raptor accurately describes the dire effects of the deplorable tendency in the press to “false equivalency”, but I am not seeing much about why it is that the press is so enamored with false equivalency.

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Because they are lazy. And whatever skills they might have had 50 years ago in actual journalism has been lost to political expediency, ratings, and hot blondes presenting the weather.

      If we actually had a real press, guns would be banned, carbon emissions would be cut by 99%, Republicans would be branded with the swastika, and vaccines would be mandatory for anyone living in the USA.

      • M J

        I would have thought their motive something much worse than mere laziness, such as craven servitude to the oligarchy. Consolidation among media outlets, after all, has only strengthened the stranglehold of the oligarchs on the press.

        There is still some hope that the Internet will provide an alternative to mainstream media that provided voices independent of the oligarchy, but only as long as we still have “net neutrality”, which we might lose very soon.

        Now as for a “real press”, where have we ever seen this? Even as far back as President Adams, he was complaining bitterly about the press man’s commitment to sensationalism rather than truthfulness in reporting with his famous comment about the reporter standing at every street corner ready to ambush with his blunderbuss (I can’t remember the exact words).

  • 99problems

    So human influence on climate change is important, but human influence on the genetics of organisms is not?

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Lousy strawman argument. I have mountains of evidence that human influence on climate change is dangerous for the planet.

      I have NO evidence that human influence on genetics of organisms is.

      You presume what humans do is wrong, unnatural, and dangerous. I presume not. I know that human changes to plant genetics provides the world with inexpensive and plentiful insulin to treat diabetes. I know that improve plant genetics can increase agricultural quality.

      I have an open mind. You do not. Impossible to have a conversation with someone who makes broad conclusions that GMO=global warming. Unless you use their methods.

      • 99problems

        Interesting, you assume to know alot about me, you do not, you use science when it supports your arguments or you throw the method out, the fact that there isn’t enough research to determine a fact, doesn’t equate to nonexistence, you claim to have an open mind, yet you’d be one of the people saying the world was flat when we all know it wasn’t lol.

      • cybernetichero

        In general I agree but as a gardener I can attest to the spread of a generation of glyphosate resistant weeds.

        • Skeptical Raptor

          But that’s just an anecdote. And anecdotes can never be equivalent to actual scientific data, we eliminates personal experience and beliefs from the experiment.

        • Barry Piper

          That’s not a glyphosate or GMO issue. Exclusive reliance on any one herbicide will eventually result in weeds that are resistant to that herbicide.

      • Craig Eisenhart

        I take offense to you characterization of my “fat ass”. Your assertion in this blog that you have”mountains of evidence that human influence on climate change is dangerous for the planet is sheer BS. NEVER has the climate of Earth been a flatline. 550 MILLION years of data is beyond scientific proof. Most of this time the climate has been warmer than now. Yet here we are! In the last 1 1/2 millions Earth has been in an ice age, and 80-90% of the time colder that now. yet here we are! The last interglacial (110k years ago) the climate was warmer that now, and warmer than the climate guru’s are predicting due to known anthropological climate change. Yet here we are! At the last climatic optimum (about 6000 years ago), it was as warm as the climate guru’s are predicting for anthropological warming. Yet here we are. As a retired medical professional (I am a retired dentist and formerly taught college ecology), you should have stuck to whatever yoy did in the medical profession. In the last 1 1/2 million years of the current ice age, the sea has been been 300 feet lower and 30 feet higher than present. Yet here we are! I got out of ecology because I couldn’t stomach the idiots who kept bad mouthing humans and dooms- dayed it all. BS. all of it. Humans are piss ants.

        Climatology should be called Climate Thermodynamics. Its all physics. Fact is , we do not know all the factors that effect and affect our climate. There is NO doubt humans influence the thermodynamics. A physical fact. That its “dangerous” is a political statement.
        Please explain to all the difference between insolation affected climate warming, and anthropological induced climate warming. Can DNA replication machines (plants and animals) detect which is which? Its the same argument you would use for GMO.
        PS, I am 66 and weigh the same I did at 20, I just can’t bench press 350 anymore

        • Skeptical Raptor

          Do you have a Ph.D.? Didn’t think so. Given your run-on sentences and unreadable paragraphs, I think you’re a lazy Republican taking corporate welfare to pollute the environment. Did you go to some Xtian university to learn myths and fables? Thought so.

          Again, you’re debating as if there’s a debate. It’s about science, not about your logical fallacies.

          BTW, I know you’re ignorant about science since you use the word “proof.” Science proves nothing. It just provides evidence in support or rejection of a hypothesis. Math uses proof, since 2+2 will equal 4 everywhere in the universe. And I can prove that.

          So get off your lazy fat Republican ignorant ass and go get a Ph.D. in geology, climatology, evolution, I don’t care. Then after you get off your fat lazy Republican ignorant ass again, publish. Otherwise, you are not worthy of discussion.

          A dentist? Who the fuck cares you fat lazy Republican.

        • Ryan Allen

          The 550 million years of data IS the scientific evidence, you fucking brainless mouthpiece for the damned. I’m sure glad you are retired, because any doctor who thinks humans are “piss ants” is sure to have a reprehensible bedside manner. So, shut your fat stupid mouth, and stop acting like your personal observations of “what the weather has always been” counts for some kind of evidence of anything other than your bloated sense of self importance.

    • 4thedition

      False equivocation. Please provide your scientific paper proving GMOs are bad. Though you can’t since there is no possible mechanism for them to be bad.

  • Makeprogress

    Great topic and great article addressing the noisy pseudoscience we hear today. However, if you want to see your supposedly science-supporting, progressive friends get all unglued, tell them that the scientific consensus is that GMO’s are safe to eat and don’t destroy the environment. These folks utilize all the false-equivalence methods described in the article and sound very little different from vaccine-deniers and climate-change deniers. GMO safety-denial would make another good pseudoscience topic to address.

  • R.w. Foster

    Odd. According to the date above, and my inbox, this is a recent article. According to the comments, though, this is an old one. Did you edit and update? Just curious.

    I agree with just about every theory you mentioned above, except the one that says the universe is only 13.5 billion years old. My hypothesis is that it is much older. This reason for this is that we can only see a tiny bit of the universe. So, maybe the 13.5 billion years old is only the age of what we can see.

    As I say, just a hypothesis. I have no way of testing it as astronomy isn’t my field. But, it’s something fun to mentally play with, and occasionally spark conversation.

    • Boris Ogon

      You’re going to have to explain the cosmic microwave background.

      • R.w. Foster

        A couple alien races love our Hot Pockets. 😀

        But, on a more serious note: (Not saying this is he reality, as I mentioned above, it’s just my hypothesis) That microwave background is left over from the formation of what we can detect. Consider: What if the Big Bang were a localized event? Rather than creating the universe, it created our tiny observable part. We can only detect about 93 billion light years worth of the universe. I think (again, i have no way of testing) that maybe, about 10 decillion light years away, another Big Bang is occurring, maybe, every billion years…

        • M J

          If “the Big Bang were a localized event”, then it would not have been “the Big Bang”.

          A lot of thought went into deciding that space and time unfolded together from a “cosmic egg” exploding, the detail you are asking for is usually covered only in a good textbook on cosmology.

          • R.w. Foster

            If “the Big Bang were a localized event”, then it would not have been “the Big Bang”.

            Why not? I mean, let’s say (for funsies) that my hypothesis is correct. If the observable universe is 93 billion light years across, that means it couldn’t have been a small bang, right?

            One of the prevailing hypotheses is that we live in a multiverse. Multiple universes.

            So, going with the Big Bang as is currently accepted, there was a point, and everything came from it, in (for illustration purposes) a straight line. .________

            My hypothesis is that maybe 10 decillion light years away, another Big Bang is occurring. So, (again for illustration purposes), maybe what we have looks more like this:

            Now, since we know that space is omni-directional, there would be overlap. Suppose the supermassive black holes (like hypothesised) at the center of our galaxy aren’t remnants of stars, but where the two (or more) Bangs overlap.

            It’s due to crazy ideas like this that I now wish i hadn’t joined the US Navy after high school, but went to study astronomy and/or medicine.

            Can you imagine what we’d be able to discover if NASA were funded like DARPA?

          • M J

            Why not? Just how much do you understand about the Big Bang theory? Do you understand why it is not a localized area where mass is suddenly explosively spreading into previously empty space? Do you know how intensely spacetime is curved upon itself with such a fantastic concentration of mass? Just think: when all the mass of the universe is concentrated into a space the size of a pinhead, the gravitational curvature is enormous, even greater than in a black hole where light can already not escape.

            Yet when the universe has expanded to the size of a pinhead, that is already a late phase in the expansion!

            So come to think of it, that is already a reason it cannot be ‘local’. If it were, it would be like a black hole, where even light cannot escape. But since spacetime itself is expanding along with matter, the Big Bang avoids that dilemma.

            Oh, as for this idea of ‘funsies’: that has never given us a new, good idea in physics. As a science, physics relies on the scientific method, where a hypothesis is a LOT more than just some idea someone thought up of for ‘funsies’. A hypothesis has to have some good reason behind it. All of Einstein’s ideas were just like that: even though he was not always aware of the specific experiments (for example) showing there is no detectable ether, he knew it was a problem, his idea of how to fix the problem was soundly based on much of 19th century physics before him. He did not just think it up for ‘funsies’. Your idea does not fix any real problems. Worse yet, it tosses out solutions to problems without your realizing that that is what you are doing.

            Just so that you can see that I am not making up any of this, please visit and learn a lot about cosmology. Some of the links mentioned there are by cosmologists active in the field, yet are accessible to undergraduates.

            In particular, note that says specifically, “According to the Big Bang model, the Big Bang took place everywhere in space (not just at a point).”

            Finally, if you spend time with those links, you will find some similarities between the “inflationary theory” and your idea, but if you spend enough time, you will see the differences that make theirs a theory and yours not even a hypothesis.

          • R.w. Foster

            Dude, you’re reading way too much into this. You do remember that a hypothesis is just a fancy name for an idea, right? I could understand your indignation if I said my theory but I didn’t.

            Another way you could look at my hypothesis is as a thought experiment.

            As for it giving us a “a new, good idea in physics,” I never claimed it did. I’m not a physicist, not an astronomer, so I wouldn’t presume to say it did. As I said all the way up there in my original comment, it’s something I bring up as a conversation starter.

            As was pointed out by the host, I, too, can’t understand how it is that the observable universe is 93 billion light years across, yet the Big Bang Theory says the universe is only 13.9 billion years old. If the speed of light is constant,* then the observable universe should only be 13.9 billion light years across, not nearly 6.7 times bigger.

            *Then again, current measurements of the speed of light, might be wrong:

            Which, if so, would really mess with the Big Bang Theory, right?

          • M J

            The problem is not as you say, that I am “reading way too much into this”. The problem is that you are not reading thoughtfully at all.

            First of all, no, ‘hypothesis’ is NOT just a “fancy word for a guess”. Why, when you say this, you show you were not paying attention when they told you what the scientific method is back in middle school and high school.

            You flatter yourself by dignifying your idle thoughts with the exalted titles of ‘hypothesis’ and “thought experiment”. That is why you now read what you misinterpret as ‘indignation’.

            And yes, unfortunately, your thoughts on the topic really are idle. If you had actually paid attention to any of the articles on cosmology, or even to my previous reply, you would know why the universe can be 39 billion light years across while being only 14 billion years old: because it is spacetime itself that is unfolding, the Big Bang is NOT matter expanding into previously unoccupied space. The expansion of spacetime is NOT motion in the sense of Newton or Einstein, so no, it is NOT subject to the lightspeed limit of special relativity.

            In fact, the currently predominant theory of inflation requires that there be a burst of exactly that kind of expansion during the first millisecond. See for details.

            As for the speed of light, this claim will probably go the same way the Italian claim last year did: they figured out their hyperlight speed measurement was due to equipment failure — a plugin card was not seated properly!

          • R.w. Foster

            Dear, sweet, tap dancing, baby Jesus. Seriously, dude: Who pissed in your corn flakes? You’re overreacting, hardcore.

            Get over yourself.

          • M J

            I am not overreacting. You are the one overreacting by feeling so hurt. If you are that thin-skinned, what are you doing on the Internet? Go back to the mid 20th century. And don’t post rank pseudo-science on a blog whose purpose is clearly to support real science.

          • R.w. Foster

            I never claimed to be hurt, dumbass. Yes, dumbass. As in unintelligent, and an ass. A hypothesis can’t be pseudo-science moron.

            Here’s why:

            hypothesis   hy·poth·e·sis [hahy-poth-uh-sis, hi-]
            noun, plural hy·poth·e·ses [hahy-poth-uh-seez, hi-]

            1. a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation(working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

            2. a proposition assumed as a premise in an argument.

            3. the antecedent of a conditional proposition.

            4. a mere assumption or guess.

            See the definition that is bolded? That’s the definition I was referring to earlier, though definition 2, or 3 could have been used as well, considering all three fit in the way I was meaning. If you were as intelligent as you want to pretend to be, you’d have known that.

          • M J

            True, you never explicitly claimed it. But any other explanation for your language is even less charitable (to you) than explaining it as out of childish and unjustifiable anger.

            As for the definitions, you do now know how to use a dictionary. Just because it lists four definitions does not mean you have the right to claim any one of the four meanings regardless of context. This is a science blog, that sets the context. Any sense other than #1 is out of place here. Especially when you use it so pretentiously.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            Oh grow the fuck up. Using colorful language is not indicative of maturity, education, IQ, foot length, fitness level, GPA, driving skills, or anything. Except living in a modern world where dumbass is a perfect word to describe the logic of an individual on the internet.

          • M J

            Your words only ring true when read not as you intended;) Yes, it was not maturity or education you indicated with your extremely childish use of foul language. It was their very opposites you indicated — and continue to indicate.

            What is worse, you confirm the immaturity you already indicated by continuing your losing battle in defense of the indefensible.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            You live in some fucked up imaginary world. I live in one where doctors, researchers, scientists, executives, managers, and me drop the f-bomb as the perfect adverb, adjective, noun, declarative, verb, exclamation, and superlative in writing/speech/etc. As I said, grow the fuck up. Discuss the evidence, don’t discuss whether anyone here says fuck. Or dumbass.

          • M J

            And where is YOUR evidence that I “live in some fucked up imaginary world”? You have none. Your blog will sink into obscurity if you think this is the way to deal with the issues.

            BTW: I DID “discuss the evidence”. Neither you nor Foster has even acknowledged that you even understood what I was talking about when I said that the reason for the apparent discrepancy between 90 billion and 13.5 billion was the expansion of spacetime.

            Practice what you preach. Get back to the topic. And while you are travelling the long road back to the topic, consider this: I too have worked with scientists, mathematicians (including people with low Erdős numbers) and engineers for the last 30 years in the high tech industry — and at most of these companies, you would have been fired for your use of the “f-bomb”. R.W. Foster would have been fired for saying “who pissed in your corn flakes”. I really have seen people take pay cuts or get fired for such behavior.

          • R.w. Foster

            Since you seem to be lacking in vocabulary, how about I help you out with that? I was A) bewildered (which means completely confused, or puzzled) at why you were sending the message that you were pissy about my use of the word hypothesis, which the Raptor understood; B) surprised (which means to strike or occur to with a sudden feeling of wonder, or astonishment) that you would be butthurt that a person – who you know nothing about – who admitted he hasn’t studied astronomy, dared to use the almighty hypothesis; and confounded (which means to perplex and amaze) as to why you felt the need to attack a complete stranger without provocation.

            Tell me, now that you have it out of your system, do you feel bigger about yourself? Maybe smarter? But, just so you’re aware, even though my image may seem like I’m the jock-type, I’m not one of the guys that would have taken your lunch money in school, nor poured milk down the front of your pants either.

            I hope you feel better, sir, okay? Bye, now. :)

          • M J

            I am not the one who is lacking in vocabulary. That would be you, since you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to use the kind of foul language bad children who never grow up, who have “unresolved anger issues” use. Nor am I so limited in imagination that I have to suppose my interlocutors (is that word too big for you?) have the same motives that I do. Maybe YOU cannot imagine any motive other than “feeling bigger about one’s self”, but that is yet another in the long list of indicators you gave away of just how very immature, uneducated and even twisted you really are.

          • R.w. Foster

            Oh, so now you pretend to be a psychologist as well as an astronomer. (applauds)

            Yet, once again, you show your absolute lack of reading comprehension. I cussed only once in one of my replies.

            Do you have a higher motivation than to feel bigger about yourself? I doubt it due to the tone of your comments. You see, the rest of us on this blog’s comments section adopt the same tone as the Raptor in his posts: Civil. Until the moron’s come out to play, and disrupt the mood with either their inanities, or with their boorish behaviors. Maybe had you not been so maladroit with your comments, we could have had a civil discourse. Unfortunately, you chose to act like a misanthropic asshole, and have turned it around so no one wants to read your words.

            And you have the unmitigated gall to call me childish, immature, uneducated, and even twisted. Sorry, bub. You failed badly.

          • Skeptical Raptor

            I give people one chance to present evidence. Except for Lowell, since he’s a drunk, and it takes awhile for him to sober up.

          • R.w. Foster

            True, but you are still civil. Except for Lowell.

            Say, I’ve not seen him around for a while. Think he’s on a bender, or do you think he finally gave up?

          • M J

            He was not civil when he said “grow the fuck up”. Nothing civil about that. Nor is there anything civil about your giving your approval to such rudeness and vulgarity.

          • M J

            Once again, as usual for you Foster, you are yourself guilty of everything you accuse in me — and then some.

            I am tempted to say you should stop digging yourself into a hole before ou dig so deep you can’t get out — but it it already too late for that, since now you show you can’t even count: you used foul language far more often than just once.

            Oh, and finally, “feeling bigger than you” requires no effort on my part. You have already done all the “hard work” of making yourself look so very small.

          • R.w. Foster

    • Skeptical Raptor

      Yes, I did update. Sometimes I update citations, or I find dead citations. Sometimes, I clean up writing that I don’t like. Sometimes, I find that I have a slightly different voice now.

      There’s two trains of thought about updating articles. Some people update then post it as a new one. Some people update and just republish on the current date. I’ve done both. There are arguments for each side, some valid, some silly, and some just not that important.

      As for the age of the universe, I get a headache thinking about it. I can’t get my arm around the fact that we can see 93 billion light years, yet it’s only 13.5 billion years. But for now Neil deGrasse Tyson says it’s 13.5 billion years old. I’m going to accept that, otherwise, I’d feel like an anti-vaxxer trying to convince me that Mike Adams is smarter than Paul Offit.

      • R.w. Foster

        Really? Hunh. I thought the anti-vax nuts were certain?

      • M J

        Tyson is praised way too much as a presenter of scientific ideas. Yes, he is right when he says it is 13.5 billion years old. But when talking about the age and size of the universe, he made the same mistake in presentation that many others made before him: he somehow neglected to mention that it is the expansion of spacetime itself that gives the universe its size, so that when we see a point 90 billion light years away, when the light was emitted, that point was much closer to us than it is now, so that the light only had to travel 13.5 billion light years. The universe has been expanding during those 13.5 billion years.

        So no need to feel like an anti-vaxxer;)

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    • Amtram

      Facts are not debatable.

      • Skeptical Raptor

        Some people don’t understand the simple logic.

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    • Skeptical Raptor

      Enough spamming of my comments. Any further nonsense comments and links will get you banned. And if you’re too cowardly to post using Facebook, I might block you anyways. I don’t delete stupid comments that make no sense whatsoever, but you’re spamming is pushing it. Stop now.

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