Real Sceptic

Ventures into scepticism

Zwarte Piet And The Dutch Culture Wars

15th November 2014 2 responses
Zwarte Piet by Sander van der Wel

Zwarte Piet by Sander van der Wel

A little over a year ago I wrote about Zwarte Piet and the controversy that had flared up surrounding him. Though the aim of that article was to give some context to foreigners about the history of Zwarte Piet and why the responses are so emotional when Zwarte Piet is critiqued.

Completely understandable that the first reaction is based in emotion as we adults have fond memories of Sinterklaas’ helper. We are after all talking about the person who throws candy at you and is the one who hands you your presents. Read more

Bart Verheggen Interview: Scientists’ Views About Attribution Of Global Warming

25th September 2014 4 responses

Bart VerheggenVery few Americans are aware of the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming (Maibach 2013). There’s a huge gap between the agreement the public thinks there is between scientists and the actual agreement among scientists. It’s because of this lack of awareness that several studies investigated what the agreement is among scientists.

When researchers surveyed climate scientists on the cause of global warming 97% of the actively publishing climatologists said that “human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures” (Doran 2009) Researchers found the same patterns when they analysed public statements of climate experts (Anderegg 2010). When researchers looked into how the scientific consensus on global warming evolved from 1996 to 2009 they found a steady increase in the agreement among scientists (Bray 2010). The latest survey on the scientific literature found that 97% “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming” (Cook 2013). Read more

Watts Up With 97 Hours Of Consensus

7th September 2014 5 responses

The so-called sceptics like Anthony Watts often have some very interesting predictions and speculations about global warming and climate change. Especially the predictions they make when dealing with their opponents can get very strange. The latest example of this was when Anthony Watts noticed a new widget on the Skeptical Science website.

Not much information was present what this widget was about. It had some sort of outline in it and a countdown, but what it was counting down to wasn’t obvious at the time. When you clicked on the widget it directed you to a page full of silhouettes.

widget crowd Read more

About A World

about a worldSince June nothing happened on this website aside from me responding to comments. It wasn’t because I was busy at work, or the other usual time sinks were demanding my time and energy (that’s just the norm). No, it was because I was working on other projects.

One of these was building the website for the podcast About a World that I co-host. My friend Christopher Bair is the host and with him I talk about less than intelligent criminals, strange happenings, and unusual science and personal stories. Each week Chris also tries to stump me with a game, which he truly enjoys when he manages that.

There’s still a lot of website functionality that I need to add or improve. Like for example adding the ability for visitors to leave comments. But the website is ready for visitors and the functionality that isn’t available will be added slowly. In the meantime you can check our podcast out to see if you like it. I can recommend the latest podcast recording we made, we had a lot of fun recoding that episode.

Richard Tol’s 97% Scientific Consensus Gremlins

97% piechartLast year Cook et al. released a paper that analysed the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

What they did in that study was look at almost 12,000 abstracts from 1991 to 2011 that matched the search “global climate change” or “global warming.” What they found after analysing these abstracts is that among those that expressed a position on global warming, 97% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. They also contacted 8,547 authors to ask if they could rate their own papers and received 1,200 responses. The results for this again found that 97% of the selected papers stated that humans are causing global warming. Read more