I would like to address something that I noticed on Facebook. A lot of people are talking about climate change after the storm. Climatologists are saying that because of the lack of polar ice caps, the currents that keep big storms south are stopping, yet the right wing continues to push the idea that there is still scientific debate over whether man is responsible for climate change (they've finally accepted that it's real, but not the cause yet.) I'd like to address why there is the illusion of debate (there isn't, 98% of climatologists are in consensus and the other 2% do not deny it, they just want more data.) Actually, the scientific debate stopped about a decade ago, so why do so many people believe that it still rages among scientists? Besides the media, the internet, and the politicians spinning everything, there does appear to be a scientific debate. One could spend ten minutes on google and come up with a dozen "scientific articles" rebutting the claim that human activity is the primary cause and catalyst. All of them written by respected scientists with no ties to oil companies, lobbyists, or politics, and in the last few years. So doesn't that prove that there is still a debate? Slow down, not quite. Notice that I put "scientific articles" in quotes. I call this stuff scientific propaganda instead, because it lacks one crucial step in becoming a scientific paper. When most people think of propaganda, they think of: political campaigns, Fox News, Scientology... But that's slightly different, those sources all distort facts, or simply make them up. Scientific propaganda is legitimate science and facts, in all of the climate denial articles, all of the facts are correct, all of the figures accurate (well, good ones' anyway,) and the scientists usually try to be impartial and without agenda. Scientifically ignorant people link these types of articles back and forth to argue, creating the illusion that there is still a scientific debate. The same happened with cigarettes. The illusion of scientific debate continued even to the 1994 congressional hearings as to whether or not tobacco caused cancer. The scientific debate had ended in the late 1960s. The same is still going on with evolution. There is the illusion of debate between scientists over creationism or evolution, even though scientific debate ended in the 1800s. So back to my point, what is the difference between real scientific articles and the propaganda ones. What makes one scientific paper better than another? Well, the problematic variable in science is: human error. Missing data, unaccounted for variables or data, skewed data. So how is this corrected? Peer review. Peer review is the process that legitimate scientific journals use to validate what the publish. When they receive scientific propaganda, it is in a "raw" state and has to be cooked and garnished. They send the article out to experts in the field of the article, and those experts compare the data to their own and others', looking for things that may have been overlooked. They report back, and recommend changes, publication as is, or rejection due to errors. Once the errors are corrected and missing items accounted for, then the article is published by the legitimate journal. That is the difference between these articles that ignorant people on both sides keep linking to and the ones that those of us who are literate in science read. But wait, there has been peer reviewed articles denying climate change, hasn't there? Well, yes and no. Not in a while, several years actually, and science tends to want new data, the newer the better. All those articles from a decade ago? Well, they have been debunked by other newer peer reviewed articles. Remember, once a peer reviewed article has been debunked, it goes back into the scientific propaganda category. The reason it slipped by into peer reviewed journals in the first place, is again: human error. There were errors that the reviewers didn't see, but once those are corrected by further publications, those original articles are no longer valid. I hope this has been informative, and remember, when someone tries to argue science with you and links to loads of articles by experts, they may actually be experts, but remind them: I'd say there is maybe 0.1% of the population that is actually scientifically literate, so let them write AND review the information for you.