Those who don’t accept absolutist and unsubstantiated claims about a scientific consensus on climate change are not in ‘denial.’
Crying “consensus” to defend absolutist assertions, climate activists are charging well beyond the threshold of what mainstream science can support. When they turn back toward the ledge to shout “denial” at anyone who has not leapt with them, the word no longer means what they think it does.
This was my argument in “Who’s The Denier Now?,” published in National Review last month. John Cook, lead author of the “97 percent consensus” studies, has responded to that piece by overstating a consensus in defense of an absolutist assertion and then accusing me of “denial.” He also objects to my citation of his work, which I will address first.
I cited Cook only to refute the claim by Senator Bernie Sanders that “97 percent of the scientists who wrote articles in peer-reviewed journals believe that human activity is the fundamental reason we are seeing climate change.” Specifically, I quoted from three studies that Cook surveyed in Environmental Research Letters, showing consensus levels of 78 percent (climate scientists), 82 percent (earth scientists), and 85 percent (scientists) for Sanders-like statements that attribute to humans a primary role in recent warming.
Cook does not question my accuracy, but instead argues that....