Archive for February 20th, 2010
The image above shows a cherry tree with 96 red cherries and 4 blue cherries. If somebody asked me or another scientist what type of tree this is I would state:
“It is very likely to be a red cherry tree and I am investigating why there are a few blue cherries that do not appear to fit in.”
Similar statements have been made by scientific experts regarding climate change:
“Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” (IPCC, 2007)
“Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.” (IPCC, 2007)
The term very likely used by the IPCC means a probability greater than 90%.
A poll performed by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman at Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago of 3,146 Earth scientists showed 96.2% of climatologists who are active in climate research believe that mean global temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and 97.4% believe that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.
For more information about the scientific consensus regarding climate change please see The Scientific Consensus.
So if this red cherry tree is so obvious why do we still have some people trying to tell us that it is a blue cherry tree? This technique is called cherry picking data to support a false claim.