“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”That is from Charles Mackay in his book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds first published in 1841.
I think it is an apt description of the process that led to Cook et al. (2013) Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature because that paper is in fact, a product of a crowd evaluating a crowd. As an example, Dr. Richard Tol has just discovered that using Cook’s own data, the consensus number Cook should have published is 98%, rather than 97%.
Dr. Tol writes in a critique of the Cook et al. paper:
In fact, the paper by Cook et al. may strengthen the belief that all is not well in climate research. For starters, their headline conclusion is wrong. According to their data and their definition, 98%, rather than 97%, of papers endorse anthropogenic climate change. While the difference between 97% and 98% may be dismissed as insubstantial, it is indicative of the quality of manuscript preparation and review."