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A Classic Example Of Groupthink

March 12, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

It is worth returning to that letter in last week’s Sunday Telegraph, criticising Booker’s global warming groupthink article:

 

 

SIR – I agree with Christopher Booker that people tend to adopt the views of their “group” without checking facts or using critical thinking.

Nevertheless, his article contains inaccuracies. A big one: that climate change theory was immediately hailed as a scientific consensus. In fact, it has been challenged, disagreed with, tested, refined, disagreed with some more and, after two decades, a sort of scientific consensus has emerged. However, Mr Booker uses the scientific uncertainty, and the one case of deliberate misuse of data, to try to argue against the facts.

Mr Booker seems to be saying that a small group of scientists have pulled off a hoax of massive proportions that flies in the face of the “real” data, which he doesn’t present. He says that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is corrupt, meteorologists are incompetent, and the 200 countries who have independently researched this are all wrong. The only world leader to point to the truth is that well-known intellectual and world-renowned scientist Donald J Trump.

Simon Foster
Cincinnati, Ohio

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/03/04/lettersremainers-should-listen-theresa-may-leaving-eu/

 

The more you read it, the more you realise that Simon Foster has himself fallen into the same groupthink, which he denies exists.

Let’s look closely at some of his claims:

 

1) Climate change was not “hailed as a scientific consensus” from the start.

It is hard to see how this statement could be further from the truth.

Based on no more than theory, the whole global bandwagon was set rolling, with almost indecent haste and incredible momentum.

It was as long ago as 1988 that the IPCC was originally set up, largely due to the machinations of people like Maurice Strong and Bert Bolin. Two years later the Hadley Centre opened.

In the US in 1989, the Union of Concerned Scientists organised a petition urging for the recognition of global warming as “potentially the greatest danger faced by mankind”.

By 1992, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed by 154 countries at the Rio Earth Summit, committing all to a voluntary reduction of GHGs, with the aim of “preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth’s climate system.”

This in turn led to the Kyoto Treaty in 1997.

The whole idea that all of this happened without a deep and wide consensus, both scientific and political, is absurd.

2) In fact, it has been challenged, disagreed with, tested, refined, disagreed with some more and, after two decades, a sort of scientific consensus has emerged.

Nobody is suggesting that the science has not been refined in the last twenty years. (Curiously though, it always seem to have been to the conclusion that “it is worse than we thought”!) After all, climate scientists have got to come up with something to justify the billions they get in research funding every year.

Nevertheless, despite real world observations continuing to diverge from the theory, the consensus that existed twenty years ago is little changed.

In reality, there have been many scientists over the years who have disagreed, and most still do. However they have been sidelined by groupthink.

3) Mr Booker seems to be saying that a small group of scientists have pulled off a hoax of massive proportions

What Foster ignores is the corrupting influence of industrial scale grant funding. And, as we have already seen, the IPCC, UNFCCC and the rest were set up with indecent haste, based on the flimsiest of evidence, and coordinated by a very small group of people.

 

4) He says that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is corrupt

Many would argue that the IPCC has shown itself to be corrupt by its very own actions.

In any event, the IPCC is the creature of governments, and was expressly set up to provide evidence for “human induced” climate change, and assess its impact. As ever with government sponsored inquiries, it produced the results its masters were looking for.

The IPCC certainly cannot be regarded as in any way independent or objective.

5) He says meteorologists are incompetent

This is a bit of an own goal by Simon Foster.

In 2013, the AMS surveyed its member meteorologists, and found that less than half agreed that global warming was mostly human caused.

It is a fact that there are many sceptical meteorologists, as opposed to climatologists, out there who are not convinced by the “consensus”.

6) He says the 200 countries who have independently researched this are all wrong.

He seems to be confusing this with the countries who have signed the Paris Agreement, which of course is two different things entirely.

Leaving that aside though, it is the “million housewives can’t be wrong” argument. Science is not decided by consensus, no matter what groupthink dictates.

As we have seen, this supposed consensus does not even exist anyway. And the idea that all of this research is somehow “independent” ignores the realities of funding and groupthink, which will quickly quash any research critical of the central tenets of AGW.

7) Trump

His final comment about Trump simply shows how politicised climate science has become.

Simon Foster has fallen into the trap of groupthink, probably quite unwittingly, and hardly surprisingly either as a result of the constant disinformation fed to him for years by the climate establishment.

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24 Comments
  1. March 12, 2018 10:41 pm

    Well said Paul. As usual.

    However; we sceptics do need to be careful that we do not fall into the group think trap ourselves.

  2. March 12, 2018 10:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism.

  3. March 12, 2018 10:55 pm

    ‘Nobody is suggesting that the science has not been refined in the last twenty years.’

    ‘Refined’ isn’t the word I would have used 😉

    • Gerry, England permalink
      March 13, 2018 1:45 pm

      ‘faked’ might be more accurate. Think of Karl et al and the magical disappearance of ‘the pause’.

  4. Gamecock permalink
    March 12, 2018 11:12 pm

    ‘He says the 200 countries who have independently researched this are all wrong.’

    Hmmm . . . researched by dozens of basket case countries. Perhaps Foster will share Benin’s research with us. Myanmar’s? The Norks?

  5. markl permalink
    March 12, 2018 11:16 pm

    “…. after two decades, a sort of scientific consensus has emerged….. the facts.” So even according to the letter writer 20 years later will still have no proof and therefore can have no facts. Correct?

  6. Bitter@twisted permalink
    March 12, 2018 11:32 pm

    The Phlogiston theory used to be consensus, as did the flat earth.
    AGW will have the same ignominious fate.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      March 13, 2018 9:12 am

      and luminiferous aether, a portion of which entered the language!
      What clisci needs is a Michelson and Morley

  7. March 13, 2018 12:33 am

    There are only 195 countries in the world today and that’s if you include the Holy See and the “state” of Palestine. I don’t believe that even half of them have the interest or ability to “independently research” the global climate in any profound manner.

    • Tim Spence permalink
      March 13, 2018 8:43 am

      Yes, there are only 195 countries, the warmists always desperately reach for the numbers for validation of their argument.

      But I’m sure that the nations of Vanatu, Kirbati, Palau, Andorra, Fiji and Grenada have Nasa sized science academies that do them proud. Never underestimate the combined power of Trinidad and Tobago and who could ever forget Nauru, the powerhouse of Micronesia.

    • March 13, 2018 11:06 am

      But rounded down, that is the magical number of 97%.

  8. March 13, 2018 6:29 am

    I suspect, without any firm evidence, that Mr Foster did not vote for Donald Trump.

    • Edmund Burke permalink
      March 13, 2018 6:55 am

      I would suggest there is a strong consensus that you are right. Where can I get a grant to prove this?

      • March 13, 2018 12:27 pm

        However, even without the vote of Mr. Foster (should he be a US citizen, not that it matters with the Democrats), Donald Trump won Ohio, handily. He won Ohio’s 18 electoral votes with 446,841 more votes than Hillary Clinton.

        Hillary did not help herself when she stood in Ohio, near the West Virginia border, and announced her intentions to shut down more coal mines and “put a lot of miners out of work.” Obama had already done so and she planned to finish the job. We finished her instead.

        Perhaps Mr. Foster should return and acquire a position at UEA working with the “Motley CRU” which gave their corrupt data to the IPCC. He seems to be on board with that sort of “science.” .Or lacking airfare, he could join Michael Mann at Penn State University.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        March 13, 2018 1:47 pm

        I am 97% certain he voted for Shrillary.

  9. Green Sand permalink
    March 13, 2018 9:06 am

    Somebody writing in the DT is switched on!

    ‘Beast from the East’ exposed our energy failings ‘

    “The recent severe weather placed a huge strain on Britain’s energy networks. As well as a gas supply threat there were troubling signs that electricity supplies were dangerously exposed. Current policies are set to make the situation worse.

    Until recently, British power generators could supply all of the electricity the nation needed. A mixed portfolio of nuclear, gas, coal, oil and renewable plants kept the lights on and allowed for a balanced choice of fuels to generate power.

    But chronic policy failures over a generation to get plants built as old ones shut, mean Britain is looking to import more electricity from Europe. Imports are set to make up to a fifth of supplies by 2025. The “Beast from the East” laid bare the risks of this approach……..

    …….In the meantime, consumers have been presented with a sham claim by National Grid that the UK is increasingly enjoying “coal free” days – a PR wheeze based on the point that no UK coal plants are generating any electricity at a certain time. The claim is flawed because the UK is increasingly importing electricity, and the grid cannot guarantee this electricity has not been generated from the many coal plants in Europe. The Minister for Energy recently confirmed in a written parliamentary answer that it was impossible to trace the generation source of imported electricity.

    All of this means that importing power is likely to become more challenging, erratic and expensive – not less. Brexit Britain needs a new energy policy, and fast, which prioritises security of supply and competitive bills. Muddling through will no longer work.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/03/13/beast-east-exposed-energy-failings/

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 13, 2018 9:19 am

    The frequently referenced Eisenhower warning remains very powerful, a succinct retort to several of the points raised.

    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/climate-science-on-trial-eisenhower-warned-us-about-climate-scientists/

  11. Up2snuff permalink
    March 13, 2018 9:22 am

    From above: “2) In fact, it has been challenged, disagreed with, tested, refined, disagreed with some more and, after two decades, a sort of scientific consensus has emerged.

    Nobody is suggesting that the science has not been refined in the last twenty years. (Curiously though, it always seem to have been to the conclusion that “it is worse than we thought”!)

    Nevertheless, despite real world observations continuing to diverge from the theory, the consensus that existed twenty years ago is little changed.”

    The challenger to Booker made a good spot but failed to draw the correct conclusion from his or her accusation, which is somewhat damning as far as they are concerned.

    Despite the millions of £, $, €, etc., spent on research it remains a theory only and still an unproven one at that, that a limited range of human generated CO2 emissions, now along with methane from animal & waste sources (only! no insects), are responsible for the massive rise in global temperatures that are predicted further and further into the future.

  12. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 13, 2018 9:29 am

    The simple truth is that the idea of AGW was advanced not as a “oh look, this is interesting” but as a “OMG, we have to do something!” idea.

    It was that immediate politicisation that has caused so many problems and so much unnecessary cost to so many. And because of that, the science has no chance of rowing back or of reconsidering. That is just human nature. A few stubborn proponents of an idea in much of science is of little or no interest to most of us, but the initial aim of AGW scientists was alarm and action.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 13, 2018 9:04 pm

      It had nothing to do – IMHO – with “OMG, we have to do something!” idea.”, it was more to do with: “OMG, this is something we can do something with”. (Def: something = make money)

  13. paul weldon permalink
    March 13, 2018 10:59 am

    I like the first reply, from what I have seen of other people’s posts, we all (including myself) tend to accept what others say when it fits to our beliefs. To always be critical and questioning requires a lot of time and research which few have, and can lead to a situation when one does not know which specialist to believe.
    A classic example is the definition of ‘’the greenhouse effect’’. Does this refer only to the effect of greenhouse gases only or does it include the response of the other gases in the atmosphere? Most confusing. Who (what source) to believe?

    • March 13, 2018 12:34 pm

      The term “greenhouse gases” was invented in order to make the naturally occurring gases sound bad. In my college plant physiology text, they are properly referred to as “atmospheric gases.”

      The only place where you have so-called “greenhouse gases” is within the confines of a greenhouse. We need to stop buying their false and deliberately misleading term.

  14. Gerry, England permalink
    March 13, 2018 1:50 pm

    I am very disappointed that a pinko Marine has persuaded Donald not to do a climate Red Team – Blue Team exercise. An open and honest debate would show at least that the consensus claim is rubbish. Can we get the great man to change his mind?

  15. March 14, 2018 2:21 pm

    If you asked the glaciologists if the earth is warming, about 100% would say yes.

    If you asked them if they agree with IPCC science I would guess a majority would say yes.

    If you asked them if the Hockey Stick is OK, I think many would agree.

    If you asked them if the Hockey Stick shows the Little Ice Age, quite a few of them would say something like, I never thought of that.

    And I challenge all to identify a single glaciologist who does not accept a global Little Ice Age as established fact.

    And it’s not just glaciogists–the true expert consensus is that the Hockey Stick is junk science. Most scientists are just too ignorant to understand that. So is NPR (USA).

    –AGF

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