2011-08-06 12:00:21What is wrong with the "Skeptical Science" blog?
John Cook


Back from holiday (as a lovely greeting back in Brisbane, our car got rear-ended this morning - great to be back!) and now going through the piled-up emails. One interesting one is this blog post:

What is wrong with the "Skeptical Science" blog?

The authors of the title blog, in this post and elsewhere, want to make the reader believe that science works in the same way as the parliamentary democracy, namely, that:

  1. Personal opinions matter
  2. Final truth is established by a vote, therefore the opinions getting more votes are more correct
  3. Arguments matter, causing the decision-makers to change their opinions

Thus, the authors follow the same paradigm of religious/political activism as the IPCC (the UN climate panel), working hard to overlook any reasons for the climate change other than the anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and therefore concluding that the greenhouse gases are the cause, and the humanity is to blame. Same as the IPCC, they dare call it "science" ...

Therefore, their approach to "proving" the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis is to invent arguments that are allegedly invoked by their opponents to disprove it, then, by refuting these arguments, they allegedly reaffirm the AGW dogma. Needless to say, none of these arguments, whether correct or erroneous, bear any relevance to the subject discussed, once we use the scientific approach ...

Now, science advances hypotheses, and tries to disprove them based on available experimental evidence, with a single piece of unexplained evidence sufficient to refute a hypothesis. Only those hypotheses that can survive experimental scrutiny make it to a theory. This approach is called the scientific method.

However, the AGW hypothesis has been refuted by experimental evidence, once and again. Therefore, pretending that nothing has changed, and that the IPCC climate reports still represent the current state of climatology as science, as opposed to religious/political activism, can only be described as non-scientific.

We therefore submit that "Sceptical Science" should be renamed "Dogmatic Faith".

Curious that the example they link to is the list of evidence for human fingerprints - narry a word about consensus or opinions, it's all about the evidence. Perhaps demonstration that blogs are like ink blots - people see in them whatever they want to see.

2011-08-06 12:05:36Watch out for low-flying bacon
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

I believe the scientific term that describes their approach and attitude is "gibberish".

They have as much chance of being right as I still do of playing centerfield for the NY Yankees (since I have actually played the game I have the odds in my favor a bit).

(I forgot to mention that I'm pushing 50...)

2011-08-06 17:55:21
Paul D


Maybe the scientific method in it's literal definition has passed it's sale by date?

In any case there is an over-emphasis on the word experiment and it's meaning.


"More formally, an experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the accuracy of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results."

Methodical procedure that is repeatable, includes the analysis of temperature data using methods that are repeatable!
It doesn't mean that you have to build a replica of Earth or the Universe and observe what happens. It's perfectly acceptable for the data to be available from past research (or it was collected dues to job requirements, such as Navy captains etc.), in fact this is important in medical science, where data from the past that was not collected for a specific science 'experiment' is used in research on cancer, heart disease etc.

The person that has 'dogmatic faith' is the person that has a pedantic faith in the literal interpration of the scientific method.
Maybe they are 'Sheldons'?? (A reference to The Big Bang Theory comedy series).

Actually, how about having a blog post or series about defining the scientific method and what it means. Or maybe just explain what constitutes an experiment.
I think this would be a really good idea.

2011-08-06 20:19:25
Tom Curtis


I'ld volunteer to do a blogpost on the nature of science, but it may be a month before I can write it, timewise.

2011-08-07 00:48:09Defining trems
John Hartz
John Hartz

When I come across a blog like the one above, I post:

The report, “Science, Evolution, and Creationism,” issued by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine in early 2008, defines scientific theory and scientific fact.

 “Theory: A plausible or scientifically acceptable, well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena and predict the characteristics of as yet unobserved phenomena.”

“Fact: In science, a ‘fact’ typically refers to an observation, measurement, or other form of evidence that can be expected to occur the same way under similar circumstances. However, scientists also use the term ‘fact’ to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples.


2011-08-07 01:48:27
Rob Honeycutt


What a bizarre and worthless E&E paper they link to.  

2011-08-07 04:09:12
Julian Brimelow

Good grief, what a load of nonsense.  Completely misguided and ideological.

That paper they link to does not in any way refute the theory of AGW-- it is a political rant made under the guise of pseudo science.

I like their forecast for the 21st century, well it is a forecast by Abdussamatov.  Someone should tell Dana.  Apparently global temperatures are going to cool a whopping 1 C by ~2050!

2011-08-07 14:21:12


That site is a totally wacko anti-science site.

The site is a factory producing fodder for the brain-dead, such as, in paraphrasis -


we know that models are unreliable because Piers Corbyn says so;

the climate is inherently stable;

CO2 doesn't cause warming;

the climate is cooling;

we should produce more CO2 to stop the cooling;

CO2 is plant food and without plants, animals starve;

the global warming hoax is an excuse to promote alternative energy;

etc. ad nauseum

and if I read much more of that garbage I'm gonna puke!

2011-08-07 15:59:31
Andy S

It sounds to me like he's trying to provoke us into doing a post or two on him. I would guess that deniers must feel that they haven't made an impact until they have received the SkS treatment. Obviously we should ignore him. The journal he published in is not the real E&E (Sonja B-C) but a wannabe copy cat. That's truly a sign of desperation.