The paper Lewandowsky, Oberauer & Gignac – NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science (in press, Psychological Science) is one of the biased and pernicious surveys I have come across. This posting is about the opening remarks.
The paper starts by accepting the validity of science is from beliefs of scientists.
More than 90% of climate scientists agree that the global climate is changing largely due to human CO2 emissions (Anderegg, Prall, Harold, & Schneider, 2010; Doran & Zimmerman, 2009)
The first paper simply says that of the climate scientists who are convinced of climate change arguments as far more numerous and publish far more than scientists that are unconvinced. The most positive spin you can put on this is that those who believe in and are passionate about what they are doing tend to succeed more than those who don’t. You would probably find similar proportions of within New Testament theology or Marxian economics. It says nothing about the truth and the validity of the main claim – unless we act quickly to reduce global carbon emissions, the planet is heading for catastrophic global warming.
The second paper asked two questions:-
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?
It is only the second question that mentions the human element. In maths “largely” (i.e. > 50%) is a subset of “significant” (a measurable part). Neither is CO2 the only human factor causing climate change (Methane plus other gases increase the greenhouse effect, aerosols offset the warming). Further, the Doran and Zimmerman paper is (to put it charitably) is a hugely flawed survey. Reference to it in another “peer reviewed” survey shows does not bode well for the quality of the results.