One hundred and twenty percent

The Washington Post has become the go-to newspaper for climate change skeptics.  They have twice published pieces by (!) Sarah Palin, and they continue to justify running the factually and logically challenged work of George Will on the same subject.  On the latter, rarely does one see an objection in print–either in the form of letters to the editor, interventions of other columnists, or the contribution of the public editor.  On the former, however, we get this:

Now, the American public is again being subjected to those kinds of denials, this time about global climate change. While former Alaska governor Sarah Palin wrote in her Dec. 9 op-ed that she did not deny the "reality of some changes in climate," she distorted the clear scientific evidence that Earth's climate is changing, largely as a result of human behaviors. She also badly confused the concepts of daily weather changes and long-term climate trends when she wrote that "while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes." Her statement inaccurately suggests that short-term weather fluctuations must be consistent with long-term climate patterns. And it is the long-term patterns that are a cause for concern. 

Today, two more climate-critical, for a lack of a better term, pieces.  One by Krauthammer (it's the new socialism!) and another by Michael Gerson.  Gerson, however, affirms that climate change is real, but he blames the private behavior of some scientists for all the skepticism.  He makes his case on two grounds: (1) the trust one must have in a former Bush administration speech writer and (2) a recent Rasmussen poll. 

Climate scientists are clearly accustomed to deference. Theirs is a community coddled by global elites, extensively funded by governments, celebrated by Hollywood and honored with international prizes.

But outside the Copenhagen bubble, the field of climate science is deep in a crisis of professional credibility, which many scientists seem too insular to recognize. Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe it is at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research to prop up claims about global warming. If the practices at East Anglia are dismissed as "scientists at work," skepticism will rise as surely as temperatures.

Now Gerson must not read a lot of news, because that Rasmussen poll had a funny problem.  Following the link in his own article to the very number he cites, one finds this:

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Americans say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it’s Very Likely. Just 26% say it’s not very or not at all likely that some scientists falsified data.

59 + 35 + 26 = 120 percent.

5 thoughts on “One hundred and twenty percent”

  1. Good overall post, John!
    Just one simple correction. See here the original Rasmussen poll:
    "As the email controversy unfolded, pollsters at Rasmussen Reports asked respondents the following question: "In order to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming, how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data?" According to their survey, 35 percent believed that it was "very likely," 24 percent thought it was "somewhat likely," 21 percent thought it was "not very likely," 5 percent thought it was "not likely at all" and 15 percent were unsure."

    So, Gerson is right: 59%  (35%+24%) say it's at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data.
    That being said, I don't see how that is relevant to his overall point.

  2. I think the problem might be with how Fox News gimmicked the Rasmussen poll numbers, rather than the Rasmussen poll iteslf:
    (But I've not tracked things back, so who the problem may be in the original.)
    (I'm having enormous difficulty getting my comments to appear — I hit submit and they simply vanish. If things are going into moderation, then there really ought to be a sign indicating as much.)

  3. Hi fellas.  I'm sorry that comments are having trouble appear–keep trying to comment, and I'll keep fishing them out of spam. 

    As for the Rasmussen thing, I followed Gerson's link to the page where it had the 120 figure. 

    As BN points out, however, that's really irrelevant anyway.  One, Ras is not a terribly credible reporter on this matter.  Here's an example, during the Presidential election, they asked several poll questions about William Ayers–you know, the terrorist with whom Obama had been pallin' around–and what role he would have in an Obama administration.  There's lots of actual non-anecdotal evidence on Rasmussen anyway.  Second, that points out the ignorance of the people polled, rather than the reality of scientific bias.

    Thanks again for commenting, sorry about the comment limbo.  I check as many times as possible during the day.  I will also try to figure out the spam patroller. 

  4. Yes, sorry about the comments. I'm not sure what happened, but the spam filter is much more aggressive after our re-installation. 

    I’ve changed the settings so that after having one comment approved you are not you are unmoderated. Maybe that will force things to work. This is the best I can come up with at the moment.

  5. "Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe…"

    Making an argument based on what people believe is just plain dumb as their beliefs may be wrong.
    (Is there a latin phrase for 'just plain dumb'?)

Comments are closed.