The “March for Science” held last weekend featured one constant theme — the claim that “97% of scientists believe in climate change.”

The statistic is quoted as gospel among leftists who claim to have rejected superstition for the demonstrable truth of science.

Yet, few, if any, can cite where it comes from.  If they could, they would know it’s a wholesale lie.

Here’s the real story behind how political activists used a student paper to claim something even the paper itself never concluded.

Ian Tuttle, writing in National Review, notes the claim dates back to 2009 when it first appeared in a student paper at the University of Illinois.

Student Maggie Kendall Zimmerman sent a two-question online quiz to thousands of scientists asking the following questions:

 1) Do they believe the Earth is warming?

2) Do they believe humans play a role?

Scientists were never asked if humans were the sole cause, or even a major cause.

They were also not asked that, if they do believe humans play a role, whether reducing carbon dioxide output would have any effect on global temperatures.

Zimmerman received 3,146 responses.  Generally speaking, a self-selecting sample is not scientifically credible.

Of those 3,146, 97 percent did not say they believed in global warming.  In fact, only 77 out of 3,146 scientists reported they had published multiple papers “proving” man-made global warming.

In order to arrive at that “97 percent” figure, Zimmerman had to delete virtually all the responses.

First, she threw out the responses of everyone who did not claim to be a “climate scientist.”

She did not verify whether the respondents were actual scientists, or what field they studied.

She relied entirely on self-reported information.

Only five percent claimed to be climate scientists, so she threw out 95 percent of her sample.

That left her with only about 160 responses, out of the original 3,146.

That is not a statistically credible sample.

But even that did not produce the 97 percent “consensus.”

She further eliminated nearly half the remaining sample by only considering responses from those who claimed to have published at least 50 percent of their papers on “climate science.”

That left her with only 79 respondents, including the 77 who claimed to have “proven” global warming.

Along the way, she threw out responses from meteorologists, chemists, astronomers, physicists, geologists and any other scientific field with expertise in weather, global phenomena, chemical properties of carbon dioxide, or any other evidence related to planetary weather.

So, by eliminating virtually every response from any scientists whose paycheck did not rely on “proving” man-made global warming, a college student was able to whip up a “97 percent consensus” on the subject.

Anyone who engages in statistical work will tell you any survey or study using a sample of 79 people responding to a two-question Internet quiz is not credible.

It would appear the Nicene Creed of the “March for Science” is a flimsy myth, with about the same scientific credibility of a BuzzFeed “Which Golden Girl Are You?” quiz.