I’m happy to say not every critic of the infamous Skeptical Science consensus paper is a skeptic/denier/whatever. Plenty of people on all sides recognize it as a bad paper. Some are even willing to say so. One individual who accepts the general “consensus,” José Duarte, has recently posted his views on the subject. He says, “I think the consensus of climate scientists regarding the reality of human-caused warming is both real and correct,” but he also says:
In social science, it’s common to use trained human raters to subjectively rate or score some variable — it can be children’s behavior on a playground, interviews of all kinds, and often written material, like participants’ accounts of a past emotional experience. And we have a number of analytical and statistical tools that go with such rating studies. But we would never use human raters who have an obvious bias with respect to the subject of their ratings, who desire a specific outcome for the study, and who would be able to deliver that outcome via their ratings. That’s completely nuts. It’s so egregious that I don’t think it even occurs to us as something to look out for. It never happens. At least I’ve never heard of it happening. There would be no point in running such a study, since it would be dismissed out of hand and lead to serious questions about your ethics.
I don’t care who you are – even if you’re a staunch liberal, deeply concerned about the environment and the effects of future warming, this isn’t something you should tolerate. If we’re going to have a civilization, if we’re going to have science, some things need to be non-political, some basic rules need to apply to everyone. I hope we can all agree that we can’t seriously estimate the AGW consensus by having political activists rate climate paper abstracts. It doesn’t matter whether the activists come from the Heritage Foundation or the Sierra Club – people with a vested interest in the outcome simply can’t be raters.
In a sane world, this would be one of those “Duh” things nobody should need to say. Our world isn’t sane though so I’m happy to see more people recognize the problem. You can read more from him on this subject here: