How Not To Poll Climate Experts on Global Warming Movie

Trevor Butterworth in Stats.org:

“The nation’s top climate scientists are giving “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore‘s documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy,” announces the Associated Press. But what does that really mean?

Well, for starters, it’s the polling equivalent of grade inflation as five stars doesn’t mean 100 percent accuracy.

“The former vice president’s movie — replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets — mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.”

But that’s small potatoes when forced, by implication, to accept that there are only 19 “top climate scientists” in the entire United States.

The AP, apparently, “contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion. Among those contacted were vocal skeptics of climate change theory. Most scientists had not seen the movie, which is in limited release, or read the book.”

So why doesn’t the headline say – “nation’s top climate scientists have not seen Gore warming movie” – which is the salient lede in this bit of amateur polling?

More here.

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