AP attacks AGW skeptics

It appears that the AP took after a straw man to dismiss the skeptic. The straw man was an assertion that there is global cooling that has occurred recently and the skeptic is the person who does not toe the line on human caused climate catastrophe. The method was to feed some numbers to a group of statisticians to achieve a headline like Statisticians reject global cooling. That, of course, got all sorts of coverage, even in a number of ‘science’ venues. One statistician, Andrew Gelman, actually considered the case in “Statisticians reject global cooling”: it all depends on the meaning of “decrease,” “trend,” and “virtually assure”.

there’s only so much you can learn from a context-free data analysis, and I don’t think anyone would want to take this particular set of blind statistical analyses as being at all informative about the science. But there’s more going on here. … my goal here is not to “debunk” Levitt, Dubner, or for that matter Borenstein, but rather to use this as an example of how difficult it can be to pin down the meanings of even very simple statistical terms.

One question is why a news organization is conducting research rather than reporting research. It appears to be an attempt to use the appeal to authority fallacy to support a point of view. That authority was bolstered by an initial data selection mechanism and a setting of constraints on the research. Hiding that was done by the means noted by Gelman.

Creating news is a poor substitute for trying to report it accurately.

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