Excellent article. Its the first time I have seen someone use Hill’s principles to arrive at a conclusion in a public scientific debate. Makes you wonder on why this isn’t the de facto approach used in other scientific issues as well.
I just have a couple of quibbles:
- In Criterion #7, you quote a review article saying- “ 97% support the concept of anthropogenic (human-induced) global warming.”
On closer examination of the accompanying image, out of the 11,944 papers reviewed, 3898 (32.6 %) endorsed anthropogenic global warming, 77 (0.7 %) rejected the hypothesis while 7976 (66.4 %) papers expressed no position on the issue. So, out of the papers which did express a position, 97.1 % supported the consensus that humans are causing global warming.
My issue with this is: shouldn’t the main conclusion from the review article be that a vast majority of papers (7976 papers or 66.4 %) expressed no position on the global warming debate, rather than saying that out of the smaller group that expressed a position, 97 % were in favour of it? Doesn’t this mean that the majority of the scientific community is still unsure of the link between CO2 and global temperatures? I’d love to have your take on this.
2. And secondly, in your opinion, what are the drawbacks to using Hill’s criteria to settle a scientific issue? More specifically, are there any instances in the past wherein the results of Hill’s criteria on an issue were found to be inconsistent with reality?