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Study namecalling at Queensland University

UPDATE: See Tony Thomas’s views on the course as it runs: UQ’s Denial 101x : Putting the stink in distinction. The course is living up to all expectations!

Would you too like to learn how to misinform people, mangle English, and toss cherry-picked factoids that avoid the real point? How about studying to be an apologist for scientists who take your taxes, but hide their data? Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of being an obedient useful fool for the State, to help promote propaganda that governments can change the weather if the people just pay enough money?

Are you looking for a cause to pick up that you can brag about at parties to prove your social superiority, impress teenage girls, or hide your low self-esteem? Do you crave an outlet where you get the thrill of being a namecalling bully, but with the excuse that you are “saving the planet” and “being scientific”?

Good news, Queensland University is dumping any pretense that its science faculty uses logic or reason or has an interest in observable evidence. The university is advertising that abusing English definitions and words meets its standards of higher education. After all, no one denies we have climate, and “climate deniers” don’t exist, but it’s a useful propaganda term to fog, veil and clog up the public debate about climate science. John Cook who runs the course even admits that it’s an inaccurate term, but he won’t stop namecalling. The last thing we want of course, is a polite discussion of a complex topic. If fans of the man-made climate crisis have to provide evidence, or answer questions, the facade would crumble.

The best defense is offense, and the best offense is to be really offensive. Bring on the namecalling, derision, and character assassination. Skeptics are scum like holocaust deniers, and have a brain like a lizard. Don’t listen to them whatever you do!

Come learn these stone-age techniques: serve the names up with half-truths, lies by omission, and be a better useful idiot. Big bankers, parasitic industries, and self-serving politicians need you!

Calling all bullies, sign up now for Making Sense of Climate Science Denial at UQ.

Tony Thomas can’t wait: “I’ve only about 120 sleeps to the start of my Denial 101X course. I hope to be a  John Cook Laureate.” Reader, Pat has signed up too.

Denial101X is a MOOC – massive online open course. It’s free for you, but sucks money from workers around Australia.

About this Course

In public discussions, climate change is a highly controversial topic. However, in the scientific community, there is little controversy with 97% of climate scientists concluding humans are causing global warming.

In the climate science community there is little controversy, because most people who question the hypothesis have been sacked, attacked, find it hard to publish papers and are subject to name-calling, exile, intimidation, and “climate apostasy“. There are no grants for skeptics, and monopolistic funding has purchased a “consensus”.

John Cook’s unscientific 97% study started as a logical fallacy, and ended by using irrelevant and mis-assigned papers to claim that a 0.3% consensus by their own definition was actually a 97% consensus (by quietly using a different definition). Nonetheless it is a quasi proxy for funding ratios in climate science, though it overestimates skeptical funding because many skeptical papers are written by volunteers. The real funding ratio is not 97 to 3 but more like 3500 to 1.

  1. The study can’t be replicated. (Legates et al)
  2. The data is hidden. Either Cook et al didn’t keep it (and are incompetent) or they did but it does not reflect well on them and they won’t release it (they are incompetent and deceptive too?).
  3. The definitions changed between the claims in the abstract and those in the paper. (Legates et a;)
  4. The raters were not independent. 7% of the ratings were wrong, and biased.
  5. The ratings data shows inexplicable patterns.
  6. Cook et al fail to report that their data fail their own validation test. 
  7. Most of the papers were irrelevant. Those authors were writing about “impacts” or “mitigation” of climate change and not about the cause of climate change. Obviously skeptical scientists will not write about “mitigation” or “impacts” of climate change, so including these papers (and there are thousands) served the purpose of increasing the total number of papers claimed to be surveyed and also increases the percentage of “consensus”. That is an utterly predictable outcome. Good PR, lousy design.
  8. It’s not a representative sample, and Cook did not test to see if it was.
  9. The paper is used to make profoundly unscientific statements in the media. Cook et al endorse the fallacies.

In the wider scientific community there is so much controversy that skeptics outnumber believers, scientific associations have had revolts about climate change, scientists have quit their failing institutions, protested by hundreds on blogs.

I’ll help John with his course:

There is no gap between the public and scientists. Most scientists are skeptics, so are most of the public (see surveys from Aust, UK, OECD). There is a gap between government funded dependent climate scientists and the public because it’s obvious the climate models are wrong.

People don’t like corruption, bad science, and wasted money.

Grassroots unfunded volunteers have provided an essential community service, and the public are simply, slowly, learning the truth about the skill and honesty of this immature science.

A scientific question can only ever be solved with polite debate and observational evidence. If John Cook had the evidence he needed, he wouldn’t need to be a professional name-caller.

If you are an Alumni or donor to UQ, you can let the university know what you think, they need to know.

H/t to Bob, Viv, el gordo, janama, Stupendus, Pat, Tony Thomas.


Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D.,Green, S.A., Richardson, M., Winkler ,B., Painting,R.,Way,R., Jacobs, P., Skuce, A.,2013. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific  literature. Environ. Res. Lett. 8, 024024.

Legates, D.R.,Soon,W.,Briggs,W.M.,2013. Monckton of Brenchley. Climate  consensus  and misinformation: a rejoinder to agnotology, scientific consensus, and the teaching and learning of climate change. Sci. Educ.(Ref Type:In Press.). [See my discussion – JN]

Tol, Richard (2014) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the literature: A re-analysis, Journal of Energy Policy, Science Direct: S0301421514002821. [ also PDF]


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