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When does a consensus stop being one?


millennia

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Posted
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks

    It often seems to be said that anybody against the current climate change theory does not have the relevent knowledge that the "consensus" opinion is based on and therefore has no validity in their arguments. There have been many reports of climate scientists being threatened with having their funding or even tenures removed if they contradicted the current doctrine, but good science needs people on both sides of a debate. We have ever more vocal expressions of opposition to the postition taken by the lastest IPCC report, such as:

    http://www.climatescienceinternational.org...37&Itemid=1

    Most notably the endorsers of this statement have an ever increasing base of people whose specialisation enables them to have a very valid input to any discussion on climate change:

    http://www.climatescienceinternational.org...=view&id=66

    Usually these people have been discounted as being on the oil companies' payroll, often by other scientists, which is a very poor development as scientists are supposed to question other's work with their own findings, not dissmissive statements - this just smacks of politicisation and devalues science across the board.

    Which returns me to my question as the title of this subject, just when do we no longer have a consensus?

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    Posted
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)
  • Location: Colchester, Essex, UK (33m ASL)

    Well, Chambers definition of the word "consensus" is..

    consensus noun (consensuses) general feeling or agreement; the majority view.

    Therefore I would take it to be anything over say 51% being a consensus.

    If we had a consensus of 60%..that still means 40% disagree or are unsure...which is a big margin.

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    Posted
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
    Well, Chambers definition of the word "consensus" is..

    consensus noun (consensuses) general feeling or agreement; the majority view.

    Therefore I would take it to be anything over say 51% being a consensus.

    If we had a consensus of 60%..that still means 40% disagree or are unsure...which is a big margin.

    Totally agree, and yet to sit in front of the TV listening to AL Gore and his buddies you get the distinct impression they mean 100% agree - how many people reach for a dictionary these days? Everybody I've talked to seems to take "consensus" to mean the arguement is over (in fact David Milliband actually SAID that on TV, so even Govt ministers don't read dictionaries :) ).

    Do you think we should be concentrating on English education before climate education?

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
    It often seems to be said that anybody against the current climate change theory does not have the relevent knowledge that the "consensus" opinion is based on and therefore has no validity in their arguments. There have been many reports of climate scientists being threatened with having their funding or even tenures removed if they contradicted the current doctrine, but good science needs people on both sides of a debate. We have ever more vocal expressions of opposition to the postition taken by the lastest IPCC report, such as:

    http://www.climatescienceinternational.org...37&Itemid=1

    Most notably the endorsers of this statement have an ever increasing base of people whose specialisation enables them to have a very valid input to any discussion on climate change:

    http://www.climatescienceinternational.org...=view&id=66

    Usually these people have been discounted as being on the oil companies' payroll, often by other scientists, which is a very poor development as scientists are supposed to question other's work with their own findings, not dissmissive statements - this just smacks of politicisation and devalues science across the board.

    '

    Which returns me to my question as the title of this subject, just when do we no longer have a consensus?

    From the definition it looks like it stops being a consensus when a majority, or the generality don't support it. So, I guess you need to first define who the 'electorate' are?

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    Posted
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
    From the definition it looks like it stops being a consensus when a majority, or the generality don't support it. So, I guess you need to first define who the 'electorate' are?

    And therefore can't you see how weak the word consensus is now becoming? The teachers are to strike based on a 'consensus' vote of 3-1, yet only 10% of teachers (or was it NUT members, which is even less?) actually took part in that vote, so only 7.5% of teachers(members) are forming a 'consensus' view. This was latched on to with typical duplicity by the Education minister this morning, failing to complete the point that he only has a job because 35.3% of 61.4% (i.e. 21.67%) of the electorate actually voted for his party.

    On that basis if the 'electorate' are every climate and related scientist on Earth, did we ever have a consensus or is it just another case of spin?

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
    And therefore can't you see how weak the word consensus is now becoming? The teachers are to strike based on a 'consensus' vote of 3-1, yet only 10% of teachers (or was it NUT members, which is even less?) actually took part in that vote, so only 7.5% of teachers(members) are forming a 'consensus' view. This was latched on to with typical duplicity by the Education minister this morning, failing to complete the point that he only has a job because 35.3% of 61.4% (i.e. 21.67%) of the electorate actually voted for his party.

    On that basis if the 'electorate' are every climate and related scientist on Earth, did we ever have a consensus or is it just another case of spin?

    Don't get at me, I'm only asking :) Snowbear gave an defintion, I asked who the 'electorate' are, I don't mind if it's in your opinion, I just need to see who you think they are.

    If you ask me I think the 'electorate' are climate scientists, though if you go by those people in your link it's becomes most scientists since a lot of them aren't climate scientists either. However you define it, I'm pretty sure the big consensus still is that humanity are effecting climate and that we will see more of an effect with time, likely quite a big effect.

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    Posted
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
    Don't get at me, I'm only asking :( Snowbear gave an defintion, I asked who the 'electorate' are, I don't mind if it's in your opinion, I just need to see who you think they are.

    If you ask me I think the 'electorate' are climate scientists, though if you go by those people in your link it's becomes most scientists since a lot of them aren't climate scientists either. However you define it, I'm pretty sure the big consensus still is that humanity are effecting climate and that we will see more of an effect with time, likely quite a big effect.

    Wasn't getting at you :) , just trying to nail a point by debate.

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
    Wasn't getting at you :) , just trying to nail a point by debate.

    SO am I. So, who are the 'electorate'?

    Again, I think there is a big consensus in climate science that humanity, by it's ghg emissions and other changes, is changing the climate, with more change to come. If we take the whole of the scientific community that consunsus might be less strong, but by defintion the whole scintitific community aren't all climate scientists. I wouldn't ask a climate scientists opinion on a geological matter before that of a geologist...

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    Posted
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
  • Location: Harrogate, N Yorks
    SO am I. So, who are the 'electorate'?

    Again, I think there is a big consensus in climate science that humanity, by it's ghg emissions and other changes, is changing the climate, with more change to come. If we take the whole of the scientific community that consunsus might be less strong, but by defintion the whole scintitific community aren't all climate scientists. I wouldn't ask a climate scientists opinion on a geological matter before that of a geologist...

    Hence the reason for this link http://www.climatescienceinternational.org...=view&id=66

    I don't have a comparison list of scientists who formed the consensus view for the IPCC, don't happen to have a link to anything like that do you, or if not you anybody else scanning this thread? It would be interesting to see and also if any names appear on both lists (indicating a shift of viewpoint)!

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    Posted
  • Location: Evesham, Worcs, Albion
  • Location: Evesham, Worcs, Albion
    SO am I. So, who are the 'electorate'?

    Again, I think there is a big consensus in climate science that humanity, by it's ghg emissions and other changes, is changing the climate, with more change to come. If we take the whole of the scientific community that consunsus might be less strong, but by defintion the whole scintitific community aren't all climate scientists. I wouldn't ask a climate scientists opinion on a geological matter before that of a geologist...

    That's exactly what I was going to say :(

    I'd also add that I know a few scientists who are skeptics with regards the effects of carbon emissions - but still believe that human activity is causing climate change :)

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    Posted
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

    The other thing is, it depends on what issue you're defining the consensus with respect to. I reckon there's a far smaller consensus on the idea of CO2 forcing being the main driver of AGW, than there is on the overall notion that humans are significantly impacting on global climate, or are at least significantly likely to be doing so.

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    Posted
  • Location: A small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Guildford, Surrey
  • Location: A small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Guildford, Surrey

    Hi all ;)

    This is an interesting thread which makes some good points. Exactly how do "They" define consensus? And who, exactly, are "They" (I presume "They" are the "Electorate" to which Devonian refers)?

    We seem to be being led to believe that the Consensus is the vast majority of scientists - something like 90%+ seems to be the insinuation - but by TWS's definition earlier it could be that for it to be legitimately called a "consensus" it is only actually as little as 51% of scientists. If this is the case then the issue is far more debatable than perhaps it is accepted as being.

    So, who are "They", the electorate? It seems rather like They are jointly the IPCC and Al Gore - they are the ones who started to bandy around this concept of "Consensus" among scientists. Whether or not the IPCC is biased is a subject for an entirely different debate, but Al Gore certainly is biased, so should we accept his definition of "Consensus"? And what, exactly, is his definition of consensus? Is his consensus 51%, 99% or something in between?

    As for the suggestion that we should really only listen to climate scientists, I ask why? We have discussed on these boards very recently how climate science is a multi-disciplinary science - perhaps the most multi-disciplinary science ever. Therefore it logically follows that any scientist who works in any one of those many disciplines must have some useful input into the debate, does it not? And if not then why not?

    I'll be interested to see where this thread goes... ;)

    CB

    PS - I think we should all give our thanks to the moderation and forum team for their hard work in totally reworking the environment boards. They've obviously put a lot of thought and effort into completely restructuring it. It'll take a while for me (if nobody else!) to get used to where everything is and where best to raise new topics, but so far it looks like they've done a great job! Many thanks to you all :(

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