Science is a leaky vessel in the age of climate

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A lot of people just look at data and say, “Well, this is the data” and that is what they believe. But data in the modern age is a leaky vessel. There is such competition to produce innovative, provocative research that scientists are manipulating their data so they can get funding, prestige, peer approval, and career advancement. That is the big irony of the Information Age. We are awash in information, but we are drowning in lies.

For example, NASA reported 2014 as “the hottest year on record”. This “fact” was repeated for years. Except, once you dig through the actual data it turns out that NASA is only about 35 percent confident of this declaration. In fact, NASA has developed a proclivity for calling each new year “the hottest on record”. Buried in the assessments (and mostly non-reported) is that NASA has less than 50 percent confidence in their dire reports on world climate.

So why does NASA make such misleading statements? It would seem that scientists seeking fame, fortune, and social status are pushing the data to say what the people who provide them funding want it to say. Nobody seems to notice that even if these ominous assessments were correct, the difference between one hot year and another is so tiny as to be insignificant and within the margin of error.

It begs the question. If scientists and scientific agencies are misrepresenting the quality of the data and/or misleading the implications of the data, who are we to trust?

Science is supposed to be self-correcting. Part of that process is called “peer review”. The belief was that having scientists review the work of their peers would provide a skeptical check on the quality of the work. But peer review stopped working many years ago. It is now best called “pal-review”.

In the peer review process of today papers that suggest the consensus is wrong get rejected, whereas the papers that support the supposed consensus get accepted. But as all scientists should know, consensus is not science. Consensus typically becomes a tool that is used to suppress opposition. This is nothing new. Ask Galileo.

In our modern “information age” we are told that there is a 97 percent consensus that man’s activities are causing the climate to change. It is assumed or in many cases proclaimed that this change is all bad and that the consequences will be catastrophic. Such proclamations are unscientific propaganda. There is no shortage of attention-seeking scientists who believe that humans are dangerously altering the climate, but belief is not evidence, and belief is not science.

The public is abused by a never-ending stream of research papers that predict terrible outcomes of a changing climate. In recent years the term has morphed into a “rapidly changing climate” to juice the alarmism. But these papers suspiciously avoid the crucial distinction of man’s role in the changing climate from natural climate cycles. This distinction is avoided because there is no way to separate the two. Can humans even cause catastrophic global warming? The assumption is made, but the data are absent. Unfortunately, scientists invested in the alarmist narrative know full well (or should know) that man’s role is likely to be small and even insignificant. Yet, they spend their time trying to find what whole number many zeros to the right of the decimal point might be the impact. And as irrelevant as that small number is, the alarmists use it as a hole in the fence to drive a truck through.

The 97 percent myth has been perpetuated through the law of repetition. Say it. Keep saying it. Shout down anyone who disagrees. Mainstream media and Big Tech hype the threat and censor opposing views because it fits their ideology as well as their business model. In truth, nowhere near 97% of scientists say man is causing catastrophic global warming. But no matter, the narrative has been set, further amplified by celebrities and politicians (you know, the super scientific smart people who have no personal or professional agendas). The overwhelming momentum of the narrative is persuasive to the non-critical thinking public that doesn’t have the time or the interest to work through the smokescreen.


Climate change is being positioned as an either-or proposition. Either you deny climate change, or you believe there is human caused catastrophic climate change. Those are the only two you can land on. The alarmists have strategically removed the middle ground. If you do not believe in catastrophic climate change then you are a denier. When you call someone a denier, you are saying his or her position is so ridiculous, so despicable that they are the equivalent of a Holocaust Denier. Does this sound like a scientific position to you? Demonize the opposing view by comparing them to those who have views that are clearly wrong and abhorrent? The label “denier” is just a tool intended to intimidate and shame people and to shut down legitimate debate. Any scientist who would use such a term exposes him or herself as a biased propagandist.

Legitimate investigators such as Bjorn Lomborg (author, False Alarm), Michael Shellenberger (author, Apocalypse Never), and Mark Mathis (filmmaker, Fractured) don’t deny there may be a human impact on the climate or that the greenhouse effect occurs. They make the case that if humans are altering the climate, the effect is likely to be small and at the very least manageable. This is the middle ground that the alarmists deliberately ignore and censor.

One of the ways you know you are being manipulated by a narrative is that the alarmists focus completely on negatives and ignore positives. For example, the addition of more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels has a positive impact on the growth of plant life. It’s called the fertilizer effect. More CO2 acts as fertilizer that plants to grow more quickly. In fact, in the past several decades the earth has greened significantly in tandem with higher concentrations of CO2. Drought tolerance is enhanced. In a thorough examination of the positives and negatives of higher CO2 concentrations these positive effects would be part of the discussion. Yet few people have been exposed to these facts.

Climate alarmists insist that we must stop using fossil fuels as soon as possible or we are all doomed. This is the ultimate expression of denial. The modern world cannot function without fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas are the foundational resources used in the creation of everything we use. Everything. And that includes wind turbines and solar panels. Without fossil fuels, we don’t have buildings, cars, planes, food, water, electricity, clothing, etc., etc. The reality is that there are no viable replacements for fossil fuels. There may never be. Telling people that we must do the impossible or we are doomed is irrational and unscientific. Yet, that’s what we are told on a daily basis.

Here’s another denial of reality. The developing world is going to continue to develop. China, India, Malaysia, Africa, and other rising nations are going to continue to grow and use the power of fossil fuels to do it. They will make grand proclamations about becoming “carbon neutral” by some future date, but these are just words. The future rise of atmospheric CO2 will come from these developing nations and there is no stopping it. But the alarmists prattle on about “eliminating fossil fuels” because of the looming catastrophe that is just around the corner. Even if the apocalypse was imminent (it’s not), all we could do is adapt to the changes that would be coming. You know you are dealing with unscientific people when these realities are ignored in favor of an impossible “solution”.

We are awash in information, but we are drowning in lies.

Portions of this essay were excerpted from a transcript of the movie FRACTURED with permission of its producer, Mark Mathis. The movie is available at It could prove to be the most enlightening 90 minutes you could spend in front of a computer screen.

  • CFACT Senior Science Analyst Jay Lehr has authored more than 1,000 magazine and journal articles and 36 books. Jay’s new book A Hitchhikers Journey Through Climate Change written with Teri Ciccone is now available on Kindle and Amazon.

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