Accord to (mostly) left-wing statists, the climate debate is closed: the planet is warming up, it’s dramatic, humans do it and we must do something about it. To back up their claim, they constantly remind us about the 97 percent consensus among scientists. Therefore, every blow below the belt, from spamming “deniers” with emails to firing or suing those who dare questioning the science, is permitted.

Juuuuuuuust ony little problem with the supposed consensus: It’s an argumentative fallacy in the form of appeal to authority. It works twofold. First, there is an appeal to irrelevant authority; second, there is the appeal to authority itself.

The first form is personified by John Cook, a cartoonist with little scientific background. Despite his lack of climate science background, he has been elevated to the rank of climate specialist with his website “Skeptical” Science. He also produced a scientific study in 2013 showing that there is a 97 percent consensus in the scientific litterature about the human influence on climate.

Even if he had been a climate specialist, his “research” was flawed from the beginning. First, he planned what the study would be about: Finding a 97 percent consensus. That’s the total opposite of the scientific method, which draws conclusion after looking at the facts. Second, Cook and his minions merely read the abstracts rather than the paper itself. That’s probably why his 97 percent consensus including papers on psychology, marketing and surveys. Finally, a microscopic analysis of Cook’s paper reveals that the papers actually stating that humans caused most of the warming (50%+1) is 0.3 percent.

The second appeal to authority is also twofold. First, there is this (in)famous survey of the scientific community that showed that 97 percent of the people agreed that most of the changes in climate were human-induced. Like Cook’s paper, this survey is highly flawed.

Indeed, this survey didn’t even get through the peer-review process, the (imperfect) way of validating a scientific paper. And like Cook’s study, the conclusion had been drawn before the end of the study, as can be shown by the different sample size on the two first questions. Second, the sample size is only 79 people. Just imagine if a skeptic survey had had the same results…

Another flawed survey was made by James Powell in 2013. Not only wasn’t his survey passed throught the peer-review process, not only did he include papers not passed through the peer-review process, but his research did not even take time actually search for papers that talked about anthropogenic (human-induced) global warming.

In short, (almost) all appeals to scientific consensus in the climate science are as flawed as the theory they try to defend. But even if there were a consensus (as there is for gravity or evolution, e.g.), trying to shut the debate is not only unscientific but also very dangerous. Forbidding people to dissent is the prime characteristic of totalitarism, where no freedom of any sort exists.