Skeptics like to mention that there is a multitude of scientists that do not believe in global warming. They refer to a petition put out by the late Dr. Frederick Seitz, a physicist by training. In this petition, it is claimed that there are 32,000 scientists who do not believe in human-caused global warming. Some background is necessary to understand this hoax.
In the late 1970s, Seitz became a consultant for the tobacco industry. He funneled funds into so-called research that claimed that there was no scientific evidence that smoking was dangerous to one’s health.
In 1984 Dr. Seitz founded the George C. Marshall Foundation, a conservative think tank that dedicated itself to rebutting several ecological issues. He argued that air pollution was not a threat to health and that the issue of global warming was fraudulent.
In 1998 Dr. Seitz sent out a mass mailing to thousands of professionals from a wide variety of fields including engineering, biology, computer science, zoology, food science, and many others. It was a petition to collect signatures against the issue of human-caused global warming.
In his mailing, he included a document made to look like a professional peer-reviewed scientific paper refuting the issue of human-caused global warming. There was no paper providing argument for the other side of the subject, nor is it likely that his paper was understood by people who are not in the field of climatology.
It must be realized that science and other professions are very diverse fields with many specialties that are different than each other. An analogy would be the medical profession. You would not go to a brain surgeon for heart surgery, no matter how smart he is.
Likewise, scientists specializing in one field do not necessarily have any knowledge in other fields. For example, chemistry and astronomy. No chemist would dare comment on an issue having to do with astronomy; it is simply out of his field.
Nowadays, anyone can sign this petition claiming to be a scientist without having to provide any credentials. They don’t even ask you what university you went to. All one has to do is download a mailing form, shown below, which requests a name and a description of one’s profession. That, plus a stamp, will make a scientist out of you.
Figure 1: OISM petition. All you need to be a scientist.
Furthermore, there is something odd about the claim that there are 9,000 PhDs among the 32,000 scientists. Having a PhD may not make a scientist out of you but, being a scientist requires that you have a PhD if not several. If these were actual scientists, there should be at least 32,000 PhDs if not more.