Here's a list of 2,648 people whose "doubts about AIDS are publicly known," for example. It includes scientists, doctors, nutritionists, lawyers, pharmacists, engineers, and for some reason a large number of mathematicians and physicists.
By contrast, the Republicans in the Senate only came up with 650 scientists who don't believe in man-made global warming. (Here is the document (.pdf) linked to in a comment on my previous post by Ezzie with the claim that "science disagrees.")
As I pointed out in my last post, listing the number of scientists who hold position A tells us nothing useful without also listing the number of scientists who hold position not-A. (It would of course disprove the argument that NO scientists believe in A, but nobody actually makes that claim. It's a straw man argument.)
So, because I'd like to know what's likely true rather than propagandize for a point, I thought I'd look into just how many scientists really don't believe in man-made global warming as compared to the number that do.
Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change (.pdf) is the most recent answer to that question that I could find. (I found it in the very well-sourced wikipedia article Scientific opinion on climate change.) Published just last month in Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, the paper details the results of a poll of 10,257 Earth scientists (with 3,146 respondants.)
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered “risen” to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2. In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2.
They then compare these numbers to the beliefs of the general public.
Okay. So the public is divided, but the 82% of scientists and 97.4% of scientists specializing in the subject come out on the same side. Yes, it's a web survey, and yes, "is a significant contributing factor" is probably too vague. But all of the other surveys (there are several more referred to on that wikipedia page, for example) come to similar numbers.
Here's just one more:
In 2007, Harris Interactive surveyed 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society or the American Geophysical Union for the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University. The survey found 97% agreed that global temperatures have increased during the past 100 years; 84% say they personally believe human-induced warming is occurring, and 74% agree that “currently available scientific evidence” substantiates its occurrence. Only 5% believe that that human activity does not contribute to greenhouse warming; the rest are unsure; and 84% believe global climate change poses a moderate to very great danger.
I think it's safe to say the large majority of scientists believe in man-made global warming. Could they be wrong? Of course, anything's possible. But what could be the basis for assuming that they are wrong, let alone the extreme confidence with which many on the right make that claim? I submit it's pure wishful thinking combined with a reflexive rejection of anything the "other side" believes. Al Gore devotes his post-VP life to "spreading the gospel," ergo the gospel must be false. And did you hear about his mansion?
These scientists are aware of Martian warming, and of sunspot activity, and of all the thousand other little straws the deniers have grasped at. They are professionals in the field, and they've heard it all. But they still believe. To assume that you, a layperson, can better interpret the evidence than the majority of scientists is pure hubris. This isn't the kind of thing where everybody's opinion is equally valid. It's the kind of thing where some people are experts and most others are just talking out of their asses.
Presumably none of you deny the HIV-AIDS link, and even most of my religious readers have accepted that evolution is true, so why cling to this position? What good reason do you have? How can you be so sure?
And please, please stop with the "X number of scientists believe this!" garbage.