The View From 1776
The Nature Of Evidence
Some leading advocates of man-made global warming and of regulatory actions to terminate use of the world’s cheapest and most efficient sources of energy admit the truth: it’s a secular religion masquerading as science.
Read U.N. Official Admits Belief In Global Warming Is Religious, posted on the Investors.com website.
We are repeatedly told by President Obama and mainstream media that all the world’s scientists support the global-warming tenet. This is a lie in the nature of, “If you like your health insurance and your present doctor you can keep them.” Increasingly so-called evidence of global warming is steadily being revealed as creation of fraudulent data or mendacious manipulation of data.
Global-warming believers nonetheless blandly assert the opposite.
- When folks urge protection of the earth for humanity by adopting policies that reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses, they often indicate the importance of this issue with a fervor that rises to religious levels. If one understands the science, it is not difficult to see that blythely ignoring the problem is leading to the destruction of ecosystems that support human life and so being passionate about avoiding a foreseeable coming disaster is an entirely rational mindset. You may call it a secular religion if that means a strongly held belief.
If you are using the term "religion" as a cudgel to imply that such a strongly held belief is without basis merely because it is held with religious fervor, you risk putting your own religious beliefs into the same category - strongly held but really based on nothing solid.
Whether there are still a few climate deniers out there does not change the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence telling us that we are now above 400 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere and that climate change is, in fact, rapidly changing our earth, generally to our detriment.
- But J. Jay, we’ve already established that ‘you don’t understand the science’. You have also shown, repeatedly, you prefer being uncivil to playing nice (i.e., repeated use of ‘denier’ slander) despite several pleadings and warnings, so I guess I can dispense with the niceties also.
You understand no more than the broad outlines of what is, at most, a new science fresh out of diapers. Some call it a ‘pseudo-science’, and I agree with that assessment when it is the version peddled by those who willingly prostitute science for fame, gain, ideology and power over others. However, I have also found there are honest scientists who genuinely believe in this junk without actually perverting science, who don't sacrifice integrity to expedience, and are reasonably capable of arguing without all the guile and abuse common to AGW-alarmists. Sadly, you don’t belong to that category of disputants.
For your argument to hold water, you first need to be able to articulate what the science does and does not actually prove. Simply asserting a theory is proven and/or the evidence for it is ‘overwhelming’ is not proof. Any fool can claim a thing proven, but just saying so does not make it so; and citing evidence you know to be tainted (which by now you must) marks you deceitful as well. From this and other articles Thomas has posted, plus a lot of material links I and others have provided, it has been amply shown your constant claims of ‘evidence’ is false; yet you persist in them as though never once challenged on the subject. What you regard as ‘the science’ has yet to rise above the level of ‘theory’, and does not constitute a true ‘science’; only the beginnings of what may become, in time (but only if we can rid it of charlatans), a real science.
Physics is a real science because it consists of a number of principles everyone recognizes as consistently and undeniably certain. Physical laws are not true only some of the time, they are true all the time. They are also not models of what may be, they are models of what is without qualifiers. It took centuries to move physics from the realm of speculation to one of science. Yet, you want us to believe modern scientists have managed in a few short years to accomplish what it took centuries of equally brilliant men to work out and prove beyond vestiges of doubt. If I build a bridge in conformance with sound physical principles, I have every confidence it will, barring catastrophe, remain standing many years. I do not have the same confidence with regard to your so-called ‘climate change science’, because its ‘principles’ are mostly untested, unproven, and as yet to demonstrate they reliably model (or predict) anything. Thus, the criteria we should apply here is a theory does not become a science (and should not be called such) unless and until its principles are proven beyond a level most people will take substantial risks based on them, including principles which are unobvious by simple inspection (e.g., gravity). Currently, even those who claim to believe in AGW (and all the disasters ascribed to it) do not appear to be spending lavishly on AGW scenario ‘best bets’. People are not rushing to high ground (beach front properties still attract better prices than inland), are not rushing to buy carbon credits, are not hording food like there is no tomorrow, still prefer SUVs to EVs and DFVs, are not building surge dikes, and are not building hurricane/tornado bunkers in places where such events are historically rare. Moreover, the longer we go on without such calamities occurring (at substantially increased frequency and ferocity), the more the climatically-illiterate and technobabble-challenged will come to suspect they are being hoodwinked. In fact, opinion polls already show submission to climate alarmism has slipped significantly of late.
Despite impressive data (much of it corrupted beyond redemption), manipulated graphs, models incomprehensible to most laymen, and dire predictions based more in fancy than fact, we have yet to see anything approaching ‘proof’ that it is we, and not nature, that is driving the current trend. The ‘science’ (such as it is) is predicated on two things; a) laboratory experiments conducted under ideal conditions (i.e., rarely exist in nature) as demonstrate CO2 (and other GHGs) can [potentially] trap heat (uncontested), and b) models which are inclusive of forcing factors and feedbacks that science can model (albeit still highly dependent on ‘fudge factors) while simultaneously excluding any and all factors and feedbacks which science cannot model, cannot model meaningfully, or prefer to downplay. While uncontested GHG’s do trap some heat, there is considerable debate raging over how much the atmosphere actually traps under less than ideal (laboratory) conditions; and this represents a major flaw in the models. Current models can, at most, predict straight-line trends for periods of less than one decade, are hotly disputed regarding basic assumptions, and have required frequent revision even to provide a semblance of correlation. If matched to past trends, they invariably fail to match forward trends; and, if tuned to forward trends, they fail to match past data and trends. That is because they are incapable of modeling non-linear and discontinuous components of climate over time(of which there are several). Regardless, models do not and cannot prove causality no matter how faithful to the data or seemingly accurate the short-term predictions, as that can be coincidental. The choice of start and stop data endpoints makes trends more than a little subjective (cherry-picked). So, while models may be useful to climatologists to increase their understanding of climate processes, they are just too easily manipulated for presentation to laymen forced to rely on possibly (now probably) corrupt scientist to interpret for them for us. As such, as predictive tools, models are fairly useless and deliberately misleading. Thus, your much lauded climate models, representing the main prop in the whole AGW arsenal, have yet to make a single prediction of climate change borne out by past or future data sets.
The only other proof you have for your proposition (and often invoked), is the so-called ‘vast body of data’ so far collected reaching back some 130 years (plus some anecedotal misrepreentations of glacier ablation, stranded polar bears, 'hottest year ever' headlines, and specious species endangerments). There are four problems with this argument also. First is that, while there is, indeed, 130 years of climate data, much it was collected in a manner inconsistent with current objectives of modeling and theory validation. Early atmospheric recordkeeping was crude by today’s standards; making inclusion of much of it (pre-1950s) problematic. Second, is that much of the more recent data collected has been polluted by ‘urban creep’ (i.e., heat sources and sinks added after stations were built and placed near enough as distorts their readings: new building, A/C heat rejection, reflective surfaces, vegetation changes, wind screens, &c). Invariably, this ‘pollution’ misrepresents the so-called warming trend as greater than it would be had not these stations been compromised by changes in their surroundings. Many of these stations are also poorly maintained, further exacerbating the problem of station validity. There has also been substantial shrinkage in the number of weatherstations, exacerbating the quality problem by questionable use of 'infilling'. Third is that data gathered for the express purpose of model validation (including large sets of independent data) were often and deliberately distorted to present a particular and entirely pretended trend; and cannot, therefore, be relied on as proof of anything. This means we have to start over collecting data if we are to ever develop a real ‘climate science’ in which laymen can place any confidence, but this time without all the shenanigans.
Fourth is that: data (however large and sufficient) without a model (aka, structured theory) hasn’t much value to this particular argument. AGW (aka, climate change theory) is all about predicting trends from observational data. The data alone is incapable of telling us what comes next. The models also depend on how well we understand ALL the processes driving climate. Climate-scientists admit understanding some of them well, some poorly and a few not at all. Putting this altogether, we should be able to agree that, in order to prove/disprove AGW once and for all, we need at minimum:
a)far better understanding of all processes necessary to modeling climate
b)a valid, fully verified model (or models, as one may not be enough)
c)enough valid data (i.e., right type, properly measured, collected, collated and protected
d)data that is untainted by human mistakes and/or agendas (above even suspicion of tampering)
Model verification, alone will take decades to accomplish, and that assumes we have at least one valid model (i.e., model with all sub-processes modeled correctly and with no significant process left out) to begin with. Otherwise, three or four decades from now, we learn none of the models work, have to be retooled, and then restarted. A smarter approach would be to build models that include more things and with tunable correlation coefficients (fudge-factors, but whose values are not been misrepresented as being the last word). Current models have some flexibility in this regard, but not nearly enough, and exclude some processes that should not have been excluded (more honest). There may also be some processes we, as yet, know nothing about (if so, we can always incorporate them as our knowledge expands; but only as we keep an open mind regarding fallibility). Prior to verification, all is speculation no matter how good the model; and even then our model will be limited to a defined range (that to which it has, to then, been tested). Outside that range, we will still be testing our new predictive toy; and must remain open to the possibility of fallibility (aka, skepticism).
As data sets go (assuming uncompromised data), the volume of it thus far collected when compared to modeling objectives is, at best, paltry (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/16/a-simple-truth-computer-climate-models-cannot-work/
). The amount of data thus far collected is sparse and full of unknowns when compared to the thing it is supposed to model. My knowledge of climate science is insufficient to judge just how large a sample is necessary or how much more geographic density is required, but some real climatologist (e.g., Lintzen, Pielke, Spencer, Curry, Ball, &c) say we are far from having data sufficient to even simple modeling, and even further from realizing model verification and validation (V&V). One of the things scientists do with statistical treatment of data prior to conducting any experiment is to estimate the amount of data they will need to get to achieve their object (aka, sample size). That is, they must estimate how much is sufficient to arrive at an ‘honest’ proof of proposition. They also need to develop ‘controls’, which typically include a negative test of the proposition. In the case of climate change theory, such controls appear to be suspiciously absent. Where is the research into disproving AGW theory as might give us confidence these scientists are doing due diligence and know their business? Where in all the headlines are the stories providing us evidence of that diligence (it is not like we haven’t been asking for it, we have). In the case of atmospheric modeling, we also need to estimate the number of evenly distributed weather stations as avoids geographical or ‘micro-climate’ distortions. In the case of climate change theory, this sample size is so huge that all of the data thus far collected (assuming it was not already compromised) is inadequate to the task despite the appearance of vastness. That single fact should give you some better appreciation of what climate scientists are up against and the bind they’ve gotten themselves in by overstating their progress.
- (… continued from post #2)
There is something else you, personally, have demonstrated many times (on this and other topics), which is that your absolute conviction in this nonsense stems more from a fear of being trapped in an un-PC admission, and shunned by fellow ideologues, than from science or reason. Otherwise, you’d not be nearly so inflexible on every single point.
You next opined “… being passionate about avoiding a foreseeable coming disaster is an entirely rational mindset”. Except it isn’t nearly as rational as first determining if the disaster you imagine is real or just you indulging in fear-mongering because that makes you feel smugly superior. History is replete with idiots convinced they acted preemptively, even sagely, but entirely out of fear, ignorance, or (as in your case) hubris. Invariably the result has been greater suffering than might have been had a more rational, even skeptical, approach been allowed some sway. The proper term for this is rashness, and the environmental movement is a prime example of rashly half-baked, precautionary destructiveness. It is not bad enough you must go off the deep end, but feel you must drag everyone else with you. Environmentalism is credited with forest fires more destructive than the habitat destruction logging was supposed to prevent. Protection of wolves (without proper vetting and monitoring) resulted in a drastic reduction in several prey populations, one or two nearly to extinction. The ban on DDT resulted in the suffering (including some deaths) of countless humans without doing a thing for the birds and other species it was supposed to protect; and, testing on humans has shown the ill effects imputed to DDT were groundless. Ethanol production pollutes, destroys rainforests and depletes an important food source (corn). CAFÉ standard cars are less safe and result in greater waste. Thus, the litany of destructive (and/or counterproductive) environmental boondoggles based on imagined consequences and buttressed by ‘precautionary principle’ is far longer than the list of its successes.
Already it has been calculated the real benefits of doing nothing far outweigh the benefits of going along with climate change dogma. The corollary to that is: going along with your agenda destroys more than it possibly prevents – even if everything it predicts comes true. All the carbon credits in the world will not halt the warming (if, indeed, it is still coming), and even if you succeed in turning back the clock to a pre-industrial age it will not halt the rise in CO2, ice melting, seas from rising, earth from spinning or sun from rising one iota.
So, do get a grip.
Additional links & comments:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/5/democrats-continue-witch-hunt-climate-scientists/ – shows how desperate Democrats are to suppress skepticism, even to making improper demands researcher’s funding sources must be ‘fossil-free’. If skeptical scientists are forced to defend their funding sources, then it is only fair your alarmist-scientists should also be forced to defend theirs (e.g., environmentalist NGOs, political-activists [CPUSA], wealthy radical patrons [Soros], foreign political bodies [IPCC], &c) against charges of bias and corruption. The flow of money to skeptical research has been miniscule compared to that flowing to alarmists. Moreover, since when did it become wrong for private and state University professors to accept research funding from American corporations? Corporations have funded research at universities longer than have state and federal governments, and with huge benefits accruing to the public as a result.
http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba396 - model weaknesses (2002)
http://phys.org/news/2012-11-limitations-climate.html - (2012)
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/13/seven-years-ago-an-ipcc-lead-author-exposed-critical-weaknesses-of-the-ipcc-foretelling-tools/ - Trenberth (lead author IPCC 2nd, 3rd & 4th assessment reports) admits to some model weaknesses, and that “… the science is just beginning”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/26/on-steinman-et-al-2015-michael-mann-and-company-redefine-multidecadal-variability-and-wind-up-illustrating-climate-model-failings/ - Professor Mann at it again, this time trying to hide multi-decadal sea-surface temperature variations (MDVs). Apparently, Mann thinks models reflect reality more than does the data they are supposed to model, or at least that is what he appears to be saying in his justification.
(the title is meant as irony – in case you missed it)
http://www.informs-sim.org/wsc98papers/016.PDF - verification & validation of models (the right way)
http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/01/climate-model-verification-and-validation/ (excellent follow on discussion also)
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