The Credibility Spectrum
Posted by Michael Dickens on July 19, 2009
Inspired by this and this, I am going to design my own climatological credibility spectrum. When it comes to global warming, how much weight should be given to each person’s word? I am going to name the different types of people and organizations, as well as how much weight I think they should be given. The weightings are mere estimates, so don’t take them too seriously.
layperson = 1
professional = 3
scientist = 10
earth scientist = 20
climatologist = 30
Is the scientist actively publishing? If so, multiply by three.
Petition = 50 * ln((number of people in the petition) – 200)
Justification: Petitions with less than 200 people are not considered. It is logarithmic because as you continue to add more people, the petition only becomes so much more reliable. For example, if the petition has 300 people, the value of the petition is 230. If the petition has 600, the value is 285. 1000 people equate to a value of 328. A million people are valued at 691.
University = 3000, more or less. It depends on the size of the university.
Peer reviewed paper = 5000
Scientific organization = 100 * square root (number of members)
Justification: The weighting does not increase substantially as the organization gets larger, but it is still significantly more credible than a petition. AAAS, with about 130,000 members, has a weighting of about 36,000. An organization with 20,000 members is worth 14,000; 5000 equates to 7000.
Actually, the weighting for a scientific organization doesn’t make much sense; for larger organizations, a single climatologist is worth about a one hundredth as much as a climatologist outside of a scientific organization. But after all, the opinion of a scientific organization doesn’t necessarily represent the opinion of every single person inside of the organization, so I suppose it’s fair.
Thoughts? Feedback? How can I improve the weightings?