Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Behind The Latest Warmie Hysteria Poll

When big news on the pro-warmie hysteria/anti-Bush front breaks, it goes global -- here's the latest warmie news blast, as picked up in Australia (via Lexis/no link):
U.S. CLIMATE scientists have accused the White House of deliberately censoring their research and politically pressuring them into downplaying the threat of global warming. ...

A total of 279 American climate scientists responded to a questionnaire showing two out of five of them believed their work had been edited to change its meaning.
Nearly half of those surveyed by the Union of Concerned Scientists also said at some point they had been asked by the Bush Administration to remove references to global warming or climate change.

The accusations came as 2000 of the world's leading climate scientists prepared to release the final report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Paris tomorrow.
The timing -- on the eve of the IPCC report -- should make this announcement suspect, but not nearly as much as four words buried in the news report: Union of Concerned Scientists. We know truth is not one of the concerns of this firey liberal advocacy group.

So let's take a look at the survey instrument, shall we?

For starters, only 11% of the survey respondents are in the field of climatology, so when UCS says nearly half of the respondents were told to remove reference to global warming from their documents, it's highly suspect. Perhaps biologists (14% of respondents) and geologists (7%) should remove such references, eh?

There's one other little problem with the "nearly half ... were told to remove references to global warming" claim: 87% of the respondents said they never experienced such a request themselves.

The Key Questions

The meat and potato questions are asked in this way:
I have perceived in others and/or personally experienced the following types of activities affecting climate science: ...
and the allowable answers to the various activities are either "perceived," "experienced" or "neither." Only "experienced," i.e., "I experienced this myself," matters. The first category is hearsay, and "neither" is the group that UCS would rather not talk about. So, applying this filter, the question about removing reference to global warming actually turns out like this:
  • 21% say they actually experienced this
  • 54% never experienced such a request
  • 33% heard stories about it
And that's the best stat they can come up with from the survey. Here are the other actual results:
  • 92% of the scientists interviewed have not had their work reviewed "in a way that changed the meaning of scientific findings"
  • 95% did not experience requests to present opposing views for “balance” even when such views would not be scientifically credible.
  • 90% did not feel "self-induced pressure to change research or reporting in order to align findings with agency policy or to avoid controversy."
  • 97% did not experience "requests by officials for scientists to provide incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading information to the public.
  • 96% never experienced "situations in which scientists have actively objected to, resigned from, or removed themselves from a project because of pressure to change scientific findings.
Armed with this "evidence," to quote the lead, UCS "accused the White House of deliberately censoring their research and politically pressuring them into downplaying the threat of global warming."

Like I said, truth is not one of the concerns of the concerned scientists ... nor of the media that are falling all over the UCS' most recent study with giddy abandon.

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