The stuff that makes up the 97% of the consensus

Shown below is an abstract volunteers in the Cook 97% study read.

NO is a key mediator of hypoxic vasodilation, but the precise role of RBC Hb remains controversial. In addition to established theories that depend on RBC uptake, delivery, and discharge of NO or its metabolites, an alternative hypothesis based on RBC permeability is suggested. NO depletion by free Hb may account for several clinical features seen during intravascular hemolysis or during deliberate infusion of Hb solutions used as RBC substitutes. CO2 released by tissues triggers oxygen release through a series of well-coordinated reactions centered on the Band 3 metabolon. While RBC carbonic anhydrase and the Band 3 anion exchanger are central to this process, there is surprisingly little research on the kinetics of CO(2) clearance by transfusion. The three RBC gases are directly related to the three principal gases of Earths atmosphere. Human fossil fuel consumption dumps 90 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually. Increasing CO2 levels are linked to global warming, melting Arctic ice, rising sea levels, and climate instability. Just as individual cells depend on balance of the three vital gases, so too will their balance determine survival of life on Earth.

This is the article

Dzik, Walter H. “The air we breathe: three vital respiratory gases and the red blood cell: oxygen, nitric oxide, and carbon dioxide.” Transfusion 51.4 (2011): 676-685.

This is what it was classified as:

Endorsement Level: 2. Explicitly endorses but does not quantify or minimise

Stuff like this is what makes up the ‘97%’.



  1. Oliver K. Manuel


    On pages 153-154 of his autobiography, Sir Fred Hoyle admits that he and his entire circle of astronomers and astrophysicists believed that interior of the Sun to be mostly iron (Fe) before the Second World War ended [1]. That opinion changed abruptly without discussion or debate in 1946 [2].

    Climategate emails and documents – released in late Nov 2009 – provided the key to solve both parts of the sixty-three year solar mystery (2009 – 1946 = 63 yr):

    _ 1. Why the “official” composition of the Sun suddenly changed from iron (Fe) to hydrogen (H) in 1946, and

    _ 2. Why that “official” dogma remained in vogue, despite hundreds of measurements and observations that directly falsified it during the Space Age, e.g.,

    Now we can see why science and society have been spinning increasingly closer to disaster since the Second World War ended with the release of energy (E) stored as mass (m) from the cores of uranium (U) and plutonium (Pu) atoms to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945.

    _ 3. Fear and loathing of humans with knowledge of nuclear energy convinced world leaders to try to save the world and themselves from possible nuclear annihilation by forming the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945 and sacrificing the integrity of: a.) Government science, and b.) Constitutional limits on government

    _ 4. Scientists – filled with guilt and remorse for having used nuclear energy in this manner – agreed to hide the fact that the same energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasakin is the source of energy in the core of the Sun, and

    _ 5. Scientists were blinded to this common truth of science and spirituality: The core of the Sun is the Creator, Destroyer and Preserver of all atoms, lives and worlds in the solar system – a volume of space that is now larger than the combined volumes of ten billion, billion Earths 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 Earths.

    With deep regrets,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    [1] Fred Hoyle, Home Is Where the Wind Blows, (University Science Books, 441 pages, published on April 1, 1994):

    [2] Fred Hoyle, “The chemical composition of the stars,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 255-259 (1946; “The synthesis of elements from hydrogen,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 343-383 (1946).


  2. omanuel

    [1] Fred Hoyle, Home Is Where the Wind Blows, (University Science Books, 441 pages, published on April 1, 1994):

    Here’s a CSPAN News video that shows NASA belatedly releasing data from the 1995 Galileo probe of Jupiter – in 1998 – data that confirmed the interior of the Sun is mostly iron (Fe), as Fred Hoyle and his circle of astronomers and astrophysicists believed before the Second World War ended

  3. wottsupwiththatblog

    I’m confused by your criticism here. The abstract of this paper clearly endorses AGW but does not quantify. Should they have ranked it differently, or should they have left it out completely?

  4. Shub Niggurath

    You are correct. This ‘abstract endorses’ AGW. But we need to be clear what we mean when we say this. To be precise, the authors needed to have decided this , before proceeding with classifying abstracts.

    It is quite evident that the abstract, or the paper, has absolutely nothing to do with global warming or anthropogenic climate change. The abstract is on red cell physiology, by a pathologist.

    From one of the people who worked on the project, it has been determined that raters tried to be as literal as possible. In work of this type, this is one possible strategy to ensure soundness.

    But in the example above, it is evident the person rating the abstract took it to the extreme.

    When you read an abstract in a project like this, you are performing multiple tasks. You are trying to determine the abstract’s validity for inclusion first. You scan the text to see for any explicit statements next. If you fail to find any, in a given case, you then read and process it, trying to determine ‘implicit’ acceptance or rejection (which has its own huge problems, which we’ll address separately).

    Since your brain is human, and efficient, you can do all of these at the same time. However, the order of the steps above is still important. You don’t find an irrelevant ‘explicit endorsement’, or ‘rejection’ and include it in your database, since the irrelevance rules out inclusion in the first place. Whether an abstract is relevant, and qualifies for inclusion takes precedence over whether it accepts or rejects what you’re trying to study

    Clearly, the person doing the rating in the above case failed at this task. Efficiency aside, the brain is human, and biased as well. The impact of one example is likely minimal, but it illustrates systemic problems of bias and lack of rigour that are present.

    If this was a skeptical hematologist arguing against anthropogenic global warming, the abstract would have been thrown out! 100%.

  5. wottsupwiththatblog

    Except, that I’ve looked at this paper and this clearly is a paper that is trying to make some type of statement about AGW. It may well be a very poor paper. It may well be that the author is artificially trying to make their work seem more interesting and relevant than it actually is, but to use this as an example of a flaw in the Cook et al. sample seems disingenuous to me. If they had made judgements about papers and thrown out those that seemed to be irrelevant despite making a clear statement about AGW, many would have accused them of some kind of bias.

    You end by saying

    If this was a skeptical hematologist arguing against anthropogenic global warming, the abstract would have been thrown out! 100%.

    How can you know this? Do you have evidence? Unfortunately, it’s statements like this that make it difficult for me to take your concerns about the Cook et al. study seriously.

  6. Shub Niggurath

    Well, your consistent inability to admit to even basic points of criticism makes it difficult to take you seriously too. If we argue/discuss, let it about more substantial issues. Words like ‘disingenuous’ come easy in the climate debate. If raters had thrown out irrelevant papers irrespective of their making clear statements about AGW, and had been criticized for it, those making such criticisms would be wrong, and it would have been easy for the authors to show this. This very paper could have been an example.

    The evidence for consistent and appropriate rating can be gleaned by examining papers that the raters rejected. Unfortunately, the authors have refused to release this data.

  7. wottsupwiththatblog

    I really am trying to acknowledge where I can, but am struggling. Here’s the way I see it. Correct me if I say something demonstrably incorrect. Most of the criticism I have seen relates to some kind of specific issue. For example, you have found one paper that you think is a bad example of a climate science paper. It, however, matches their search criteria, is peer-reviewed, and clearly takes a position with regards to AGW. I might agree that the paper is not really relevant, but how does one quantify that. The authors of the Cook et al. survey have a strategy and they can’t just arbitrarily choose to ignore some papers simply because they seem irrelevant. They need some criteria by which to judge the relevance.

    You and others continually go on about the authors not releasing their data. There are two potential issues with this. As I’ve mentioned many times before (and you’ve implicitly criticised me for doing so) is that the work in a peer-reviewed article should be reproducible. By this I mean that there is sufficient information to repeat the work. That is clearly true in this case. They have provided the search criteria, the database used, and the categories by which the papers have been assessed. It is, therefore, quite possible to repeat this work. So, in some sense, if they have committed a lot of time, effort and money into this work, why should they provide all their data and analysis results to anyone who asked. They’ve published a paper and explained their analysis and explained their results. What is it that you want to see? In some sense, the continued request for the data seems to imply that you (and others) think they’re being dishonest. It is quite unusual in academia to approach another researcher to ask for their data because you think they’re lying.

    One could, however, argue that it is decent to provide your data to others. This is where the other issue comes in. Consider doing a lot of work in a particular research area and then publishing a peer-reviewed paper on your research. Immediately a number of people (yourself, Richard Tol, …) criticise the work, claim the study is flawed, the results unfounded and – in some cases – that the authors are incompetent. Why would you possibly give those people all your data. I don’t think I would. I would want to give it to people who at least appear to be objective and unbiased, not to those who appear already to have made up their mind. Maybe you are objective and unbiased and – if given the data – would be more than willing to make a positive comment about the survey if the data indicated that the survey was not as flawed as you first thought. However, nothing you’ve written to date suggests that this would be the case.

  8. Shub Niggurath

    Look at your second and third paragraph. It is full of ‘accusations’ that we (Tol and I) supposedly make against Cook. Where, in the head post, am I making any such accusation? I don’t. I am not interesting in doing it either. Just asking a lot of pesky questions may give you the appearance but please, read what I write and infer within reasonable limits. There is hardly any editorializing in the post above. Why huff and puff about non-existent opinions?

    The Cook group excluded 288 papers as being ‘irrelevant’. The term used in the paper is ‘not climate-related’. That is a substantial amount. I’m sure many of them are indeed not related to climate. So there was a mechanism to judge relevance.

    This paper eminently qualifies to be thrown out. But they didn’t. You are sympathetic to the authors. But you are objective enough to see that there is an underlying point. That’s all that matters.

    If you look above, I write, and I would freely write again, that the impact of this single error is unclear. But I do not believe in argument from consequence. I don’t believe in saying: “well, this is an error but it doesn’t matter because…blah blah”. Let’s just leave it at, “It is an error, and this error says that there might have been bias.”

    What you cannot do is acknowledge the error and move immediately on to “well, you don’t show how important it is”. Errors are errors. The issue of how important they are is a separate thing.

  9. wottsupwiththatblog

    What accusations? You said at the end of your previous comment that “they refuse to release their data”. If I can’t even comment on something you clearly said, what is the point of having this discussion. I’m not really accusing you of anything as such, I’m simply commenting on something you have clearly said.

    I have acknowledged that this paper may not be relevant. However, that doesn’t make it an error. As I tried to explain in my previous comment, this paper satisifed their search criteria and clearly made a statement – in the abstract – about AGW. Admittedly, I don’t know what criteria they used to exclude 288 papers (although some were excluded through not being peer-reviewed) so maybe they could have made a judgement about it and left it out. However, their are almost 4000 that endorse AGW. For this to be significant, there would need to be numerous that mention AGW in the abstract, but that aren’t relevant and hence it seems unlikely that papers like this play any role in determining the outcome of the survey.

    I’m not necessarily sympathetic to the authors. What exists is a peer-reviewed paper that clearly explains the strategy used, clearly explains how to get the raw data, and presents results indicating the level of endorsement in the literature with regards to AGW. It is consistent with earlier work and seems to have carried out the survey in a reasonable way. They could have done it differently, but they didn’t and there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with what they’ve done. What I’ve also seen are others apparently trying to find issues with this paper that seems pretty minor and pedantic and that don’t seem to have any particular impact on the outcome of this work.

    Do you really think that the level of endorsement that they’ve found is significantly different to what it actually is (assuming that could be defined)?

  10. wottsupwiththatblog

    I see what you think I was accusing you of. I wasn’t actually accusing you of indicating that Cook et al. were lying. What I was suggesting is that asking for all of their data – given that they have published their results – simply to check it, is an indication that you think they may not have been honest in their analysis. I guess one could argue that you just want to check their results, but that would normally require that you redo the study, not that you simply check their arithmetic.

  11. Shub Niggurath

    no, I am not asking for specific pieces of data just to check whether their basic reporting is true or false, or check their basic math.

    These are the data elements I’ve asked for – if you can call tweeting the authors asking. Given my previous criticism of these members, and their trend in non-participation, I don’t expect any response:

    1) the rejected papers: these comprise a smaller group and one or two people can easily scan them to see if skeptical papers are rejected.

    2) proportion of abstracts rated by the authors themselves: obvious

    3) scientist self-ratings: to quantitatively compare voluteer vs author ratings

    4) Individual, volunteer ratings: to examine trends and biases

    5) initial ratings vs finalized ratings

    These are pieces of data that were used by the authors in creating their final rating table, which they handed to the readers. But examining these will permit understanding how this final rating was arrived at.

  12. wottsupwiththatblog

    Okay, I see. Some of this would certainly be interesting. The rejected papers one could presumably determine from the WoS search. I can see how some of the other analyses would be interesting. Maybe the authors on planning on doing that themselves 🙂

  13. tlitb1

    Having had a peek at the tree-hut files and seen the background discussions on the Consensus Project over that year I think the woefulness of this study just lies in the clear childish desire shown by the SkS participants to attain “scientific” credentials merely by beating Oreskes by 10 times of raw effort churning through papers.

    However I thought this might amuse you – Have you seen this page on the SkS site that lists Skeptic/Neutral/Pro papers?

    When I came across it and it occurred to me that this seems to be a separate listing from the consensus project. I was scanning through the sceptic papers and and I picked one called “Greenhouse Warming May Moderate British Storminess” and thought that the categorisation was clearly wrong and it clearly wasn’t sceptical of AGW.

    I then found it was also more explicitly listed on this SkS page as being sceptical:

    “Peer-reviewed skeptic papers by Robert Balling

    This page lists any peer-reviewed papers by Robert Balling that take a negative or explicitly doubtful position on human-caused global warming.”

    The funny thing is that in TCP it got listed as “Implicitly endorses AGW without minimising it.”! here 🙂

    So we now know that somehwere in SkS land that in their own words 2+2=5 and “Implicitly endorses AGW” = “negative or explicitly doubtful position on human-caused global warming.” 🙂

  14. Shub Niggurath

    What the… In what way do any of these three abstracts ‘implicitly endorse’ anthropogenic global warming? They are either neutral, or skeptical.

    The thing is, when it comes to figuring out if there is any ‘acceptance of the consensus’, these guys have no limits to how literal they can get in reading the abstract.

    Its as if the defendant says: ” Let’s say I did commit the crime of pickpocketing. How is it possible that I was at home witnessed by my neighbours, and the local cop on the beat, ….”, and the judge goes, “did you say ‘…I did commit the crime of pickpocketing’? That’s enough for me”.

  15. tlitb1

    Mmmm yeah, the Scarfetta abstract includes the dread phrase “These results, while confirming that anthropogenic-added climate forcing might have progressively played a dominant role in climate change during the last century…” making the average SkS mind-set, in that case, seem likely they’d include it, but that one becomes an argument of the interpretation.

    I logged in to see what their rating system does and apparently there’s no guidance, you just leap straight in and you read the Endorsement definitions and make your mind up. Scarfetta makes a point about their definition being wrong but that doesn’t detract from the fact this could be borderline.

    The Cook paper itself doesn’t seem to include the same Endorsement definitions words as presented on the site – it’s all very woolly and vague – the more I look the more I’m amazed at the vagueness of it – it is amazing it is getting the mainstream kudos it is.

    I see what you are saying with saying they basically stop as soon as they see what they want, but I think it is too much of a simplification. What is happening in their discussions the tree-hut files show is how much they primed themselves to get a consensus of approach – they even thought they were being generous to the chances of skeptic papers getting through.

    The whole tree-hut discussion must have had the effect of priming them for the required result the distribution amongst the “expressed a preference” count clearly becomes important. So if Neutral and Skeptic becomes pro AGW then that can only add to the numbers – My opinion here is not scientific but I think the level of vagueness and priming evident should be enough to make this paper beyond the pale of credibility. The Tol discussion seems to be going up a blind alley but what do I know :).

    BTW – Regrading the remaining two papers – I definitely agree they more clearly don’t fit their category of endorsement, and what’s strikes me as funny it seems that the SkS Aegis thought so too at one time on this page:

    you can see that the Shaviv paper was included in their “Skeptic” category and the “Idso” was put in the “Neutral” I’m not saying it is a deliberate shift in opinion juts they talked themselves into it 😉

  16. Shub Niggurath

    Just to clarify, I didn’t mean they just stop when they see something that looks like acceptance (of the consensus). Its more like, they’ll take it wherever they see it, blinded to the larger context

    The tree-hut discussions would have definitely had the effect of priming – it is virtually unavoidable. Ideally, the tree hut gang should have/could have formalized the survey protocol, thrashed it all out, and handed it out to outsiders to do the actual classification. These outsiders can be sympathetic to AGW too – after all they are members of the sks secret club, but at least they would not have been privy to the very discussions setting up the survey. Instead, they hashed out the outlines, decided on a format (and not just that), and jumped right in and performed the classifications themselves!

    And, the effect of this bias will be greatest on the ‘implicit acceptance’ category, since these are the categories that require maximum user input. The rest of the categories are mere bean-sorting, though of the dreadfully mind-numbing sort.

  17. willard (@nevaudit)


    Human fossil fuel consumption dumps 90 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually. Increasing CO2 levels are linked to global warming, melting Arctic ice, rising sea levels, and climate instability

    Looks like an explicit endorsement to me.


    This kind of criticism is what makes the contrarians look silly.

  18. tlitb1

    Here’s a meta question that I’m too lazy to answer but I’m betting on an answer 😉 Over the twenty years worth of papers the study covered is there any trend showing how many medical (or any other non-direct climate) papers shoehorned such egregious references to climate in their articles? I mean, if one could say that that disco was so seventies, then this paper it’s just so 2011 darling! Right? 😉

    I notice in the *tree-hut files that three of the big paper ploughing hitters discuss this very paper, and cover similar ground in their discussion seen here. Two say it shouldn’t be in and one says it is climate coat tailing crap but should be included for the impressive reason that Willard mentions.

    When I first heard of the tree-hut files I just considered them a vaguely interesting embarrassment whose revelations of the petty shallowness of the SkS bunch didn’t surprise me at all, and I thought it better left at that. However in light of this paper, and its influence, they now strike me as a pretty important and damning concurrent documentation of the workings of crap PR science today, and this paper is documented thoroughly throughout in the tree-hut files.

    There is so much to notice that promises some quite interesting analysis – I think it can’t get traction while the likes of POTUS and Ben Goldacre fawn over the worthiness of this laughable paper today – but it’s there lurking and I think inevitably will be there as exhibit A at the post-mortem.

    For example they admit to a bias –yes Cook and others thought they were being biased – but biased in favour of deniers.

    The policy was “If in doubt rate as neutral”. This means nothing really when you think of the consequences and numbers involved, you can almost throw as much as you like into neutral bin so long as you only care about the “expressed a preference category”. Ho, weveras we see with this paper, what *does* get included can be the new fashionable papers, you know the ones showhorning climate into every subject papers.

    This makes me think that it is quite remarkable that the consensus numbers are not higher…

    My speculations here are just that, and I am interested in the more rigorous number crunching going on, but I can’t help referencing in my mind Maddox/Randi debunking’s of Jacques Benveniste. They were debuking a much more harder quality science that involved counting things in microscopes, but all the same a tight group talked itself into processes that fooled themselves. Randi had to look at their attitude and environment and he then picked apart and showed their self-delusions in a clever and indisputable way.

    With that in mind, we are save half the job, we can see the delusions. I see a pretty much self-documented debunking of their own work in the tree-hut files 😉

  19. Shub Niggurath

    The title is not as ‘snarky’ as you think. It is a play on words. Such abstracts make up the figure ’97’. They are not 97% of the consensus. “Ha.” 😉