“Rasmussen poll: 69% Say It’s Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research” (2011-08-03). Anthony Watts breathlessly reports that 69% of Americans think that climate scientists are liars. Anthony loves science by opinion poll, especially when the pollsters have a reliable Republican inclination. Actually, the trumpeted answer is to this question: “…how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data?” Of course, even Rasmussen Reports described their own results falsely so how would an inquiring mind like Anthony do any better than what he was spoon-fed?
Surprisingly, we know this opinion poll result reflects reality! We don’t have to look any further than denialist favorites Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen and Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. for the proof that some scientists have selected their data and built their arguments with a particular result in mind…
Here are the oh-so-innocent questions Rasmussen Reports asked, giving us a nice example of “structured” polling:
- How closely have you followed recent news stories about global warming?
- Which of the following is most likely to occur to the planet Earth … a period of dangerous global warming, a dangerous ice age or something in between? [Falsely suggests that climate change implies immediate harm to the respondent which, surprise, hasn't happened yet.]
- Some people say we must take immediate action to stop global warming. Others say we should wait a few years to see if global warming is real before making major changes. What do you think? [Biased presentation of denialist delaying tactics as a reasonable position, encourages "wait and see" response.]
- Do scientists agree on global warming or is there significant disagreement within the scientific community? [Suggests to respondents that there is wide scientific conflict when there isn't.]
- In order to support their own theories and beliefs about global warming, how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data? [Weasel word: "some". This question suggests that everyone tells little white lies now and then, don't they? So answer yes.]
- Does the media make global warming appear to be worse than it really is, better than it really is or do they present an accurate picture?
Nice try, Anthony. A quick inspection of the morass that passes for insightful comments on Anthony’s blog shows that no-one noticed the “simplification” of the results, so I guess he’s not quite as dumb as his readers.