RE: Objectivity

Sweitzer, Dennis (
Tue, 09 Jul 96 11:31:00 EST

Loren Haarsma wrote>>>
>It is the interpretation of those bare facts --- complicated and uncertain
predictions about their long-term effects on temperature, weather, animal
health and survival, etc. --- which causes all sorts of dissention.
Political biases affect interpretation. That is why I recommend that we, as
a scientific community, try to "integrate over" those variables by
presenting the spectrum of (reasonable) opinions. This has the added
benefit of honestly informing the public about the actual level of
scientific uncertainty over these issues.

Amen. Call it an opinion spectrogram? (Mathematically speaking, "Integrate
over" is a bad term)

The shortest opinion spectrogram that I have found on climate change is from
a Gallup poll in 1991 of research scientists.

98% believed that human induced global warming is a legitimate threat
2% other wise

Obviously, the above question refered to the future potential of global
warming. Regarding past & present evidence, survey says....

66% believed that human-induced global warming was already occurring
10% were disagreed
24% were undecided

This was a 1991 poll, so I'm sure the numbers have changed. Since the
evidence has gotten stronger in favor of climate change, the shift would be
toward the majority.

I should stress that this is an opinion poll. If the pollsters had asked
about the statistical significance levels of the available data, (e.g., "Is
that scientific evidence significant at the 95% confidence level?"), the
numbers would have been totally different. It would have been interesting
to have them give a thumbnail significance level of the evidence for climate

Interestingly, Rush Limbaugh also refered to an Gallup poll of scientists.
In his hands, the numbers became '53% do not believe that global warming
has occurred, 30% say they don't know, and only 17% are devotees of this
dubious theory". Go figure.