2011-02-11 09:46:21Meet The Denominator
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

 

Okay, I don't know if I did this right but we'll see.  I just wrote up an article and put it under one of the rebuttal headings.  Maybe someone can help me get this where it's supposed to be, that's if everyone likes the article.

 

http://www.skepticalscience.com/arg_list.php?Action=Preview&r=339 (moved to blog post here.)

 

 

Give it a read.  It's pretty fun, I think you'll like it. 

2011-02-11 10:39:33comments
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

I did a similar calculation with the Oregon Petition a while back.

A couple of suggestions.  First, it's worth explicitly stating that we're assuming every name on the Oregon Petition has a science degree.  You may recall the previous version had a Spice Girl, fictional MASH characters, and so on.  Simply put, they don't actually check the credentials of the names on the list, so by accepting the 31,000 figure, we're giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Second, it's important to specify that the Poptech list purports to contain examples of AGW "alarm".  Very few of the papers on the list actually dispute anthropogenic warming.  What they dispute is that hurricanes have gotten stronger as a result of AGW, for example.

It's also worth noting that approximately 20% of the Poptech list is comprised of Energy & Environment (not peer-reviewed) papers.  And of course there are a bunch of papers that just plain don't belong on the list, and so on.  Again you can give them the benefit of the doubt and keep the 850, but it's worth explicitly noting that you're being generous by including these non-peer-reviewed papers and other problems with the list.

2011-02-11 10:42:08This would make a good blog post but not a rebuttal
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.149.21

Generally, we're going with a academic, dispassionate tone in the rebuttals. I know, it's boring, remove all the personality!

But this would make a great blog post - you have used the Author Admin to add blog posts, right?

2011-02-11 11:41:27
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

John...  That's fine.  I didn't really know where to post it.  I don't think I've used the Author Admin before.  I'll check that out.

Dana...  Yeah, I didn't want to muddy the water.  Even accepting the absurd terms of each of their exercises adding a denominator makes their numbers profoundly insignificant.  I just wanted to make that clean, simple argument in a fun and engaging way.

The whole thing just popped into my head today when that guy Ed, on NTZ, threw the "800 peer-reviewed papers" at me. 

2011-02-11 11:43:14
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223
Dana...  I was thinking maybe I could just add more links to all the other places where people have pointed out the flaws in each of their approaches.  
2011-02-11 12:09:31
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

 

Okay, I reposted this as a blog post.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/meet-the-denominator.html

Also added Dana's link to Greenfrye's thorough dismantling of PopTech.

 

2011-02-11 15:48:31Ed
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.107.233

Damn Rob that Ed guy - he claims to have a physics background, but if that's true, he's got to be the worst damn physicist I've ever come across.  Though he looks old - maybe he got a physics degree decades ago, didn't do anything with it, and has forgotten everything he learned.  Or maybe his political biases overwhelm his scientific thought processes.  Whatever the case may be, he says some really stupid shit that should never come out of the mouth of a guy with a physics background.

Your article still says about Poptech: "That leaves our friend with 0.1% of peer reviewed papers challenge anthropogenic climate change."

Again I think it's important to be precise here.  Even Poptech doesn't claim his list is of papers challenging AGW, so you could be accused of creating a strawman here.  The papers are supposed to be examples disputing AGW alarm.  I think it's an important distinction.

2011-02-12 02:44:16
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Good point, Dana.  Will fix that.

I'm sure PopTech will stop in and bless us with his glowing personality.  I want to give him as few angles as possible. 

2011-02-12 03:22:49
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223
All fixed up.  It belongs to you guys now.  Post it if and when you wish.
2011-02-12 03:29:26
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223
Today I noted a more troubling number.  If I limit the Oregon Petitions numbers to just those they say are PhD's the ratio comes out to 22% relative to the total number of PhD's in the US and Europe.  If "The Denominator" must return at some point he'll have to actually dig into the list of PhD's and see how many are real.  Probably a time consuming task.
2011-02-12 04:52:12another point
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252
I'm not sure if the Oregon Petition is open for signatures from Europe, Rob.  I thought I read a European "skeptic" saying that he would sign the petition if he could.  So you may want to change the numbers to only include Americans with BS degrees.
2011-02-12 05:03:27
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223
You're right Dana.  It's limited to the US.  That should double their number up to 0.08%
2011-02-12 05:21:04
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Fixed.  Adjusted the numbers.

And my earlier comment was utterly wrong about the PhD's.  I guess I hadn't had enough coffee yet this morning.  There are about 18 million PhD's in the US.  That means they have the signatures of 0.05% of the PhD's in the US.  (Based on their lax standards.)

2011-02-12 18:50:28
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.224.68
Looks good. I like the way you've approached this. A big thumbs up.
2011-02-12 21:09:15
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
93.147.82.74
I'd not emphasize the meaning of these numbers, they are a lower limit afterall. The conclusion should be that it's just a joke and that these lists are essentially meaningless.
2011-02-12 21:48:32
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.175.241

This is very good.

Frankly, I'm surprised how small the percentages are. I'm a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and I would guess that a majority of the 31,000 membership of that organization are skeptics. (There were enough of us to force the AAPG in 2007 to drop its official denialist stance, though; the AAPG was the last major scientific society to do that.) 

I wonder how many people with science degrees are evolution skeptics? I have met a few engineers and even one or two geologists in Canada who believe that the Earth is 6000 years old. I would guess that the US proportion would be even higher.


2011-02-13 04:37:26
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223
Riccardo...  You know, I think that's a really good point.  Best to leave it as it is without trying to ascribe any particular meaning to it.  Let people come to their own conclusions.  I'll delete that part about "my conclusion."
2011-02-13 06:16:21
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102

Poptech and the other minions of denialdom will hate this...

 

...so naturally I like it.

 

Nice job!

2011-02-13 08:36:45Published
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.217.214
Comments have been a little muted on SkS of late, even while traffic is at an all-time high. I expect this post will spark some discussion.
2011-02-19 11:42:14But will it ever stop?
muoncounter
Dan Friedman
dfriedman3@comcast...
98.200.169.238
Poptech will not go away.  I've deleted a number of his more vacuous and annoying comments, but I feel no obligation to explain to him why they disappear.  That would just start another round of 'no its not' from him.  Maybe if he gets frustrated enough, he will go back to his corner and sulk.
2011-02-19 14:14:54
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

I think he's almost done.  I went back and checked, last time I poked him (Kung-Fu climate) he drove the comments to 286 posts.  Now we're over 600 for Denominator.  I can sense he's tiring.  Kind of a like a fighter in the 12th round of a title fight.

I think this one hurt him. 

2011-02-19 15:59:20
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102
Hope your flu gets better, we need you at full strength.
2011-02-19 16:09:21
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223
Thanks Daniel...  My wife is Chinese so I get all kinds of special Chinese treatments that her grandmother used to give her when she was a little girl.  Just now it was a ginger and grain alcohol arm rub which included this finger pinching technique that makes a big bruise on the inside of your arm.  So, now I'm sick and bruised but very well loved.  And that always makes one feel better.  :-)