Monday, February 13, 2006

Global warming wackos

Warning: Rant ahead

I listened to a podcast lecture on the topic of Global Warming from Stanford this weekend. I learned a few things. Something that always bugs me about people like the Professor in question is that they always claim there is a "consensus" in the scientific community that Global Warming is real and human behavior significantly contributes to it if not outright causes it. They then say something to the effect that there are a few people out there who are non-believers but they are mostly uncredentialed.

I would love the opportunity to ask "what credentials do you need?" I suspect I know the answer. You need to be a global climatologist researcher. I believe this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we accept this as the standard then there will never be any serious "credentialed" people to speak out.


I believe that most scientists and mathematicians would fall into one of three categories. There are those that believe that we are having an effect on the global climate (mostly to its detriment). There are those who believe that the earth is a self balancing, self healing entity and while we may do damage to ourselves and a few other species we just aren't capable of having a large impact long term on the planet. BTW, I don't think there is a large percentage of the scientific community with this opinion but it is out there. Then there is what I think is the largest percentage of serious science students. The earth's climate is so complex and has so many variables and we have such little data of any historical significance that it is simply impossible to predict future climate changes based on our lack of knowledge.

If I am correct, and I think I am but am open to argument on that, I don't see a reasonable possibility of people these climatologists are going to respect who are going to argue with them. They are a self-selecting group. If you think it is an unsolvable problem or there is no possibility of a problem you are going to put your talents to use somewhere else. How many cancer researchers believe that it isn't possible to find a cure or new treatment for cancer? There is no proof that it is possible to find a cure, but the folks who look for a cure for a living, by definition, believe that it can be found. Similarly, I think that people who go into the field of global climatology, by definition, believe that our actions change the climate significantly and over the long term.

They are the classic group of people who have a predetermined answer and are looking for the proof of that answer. Notice I said people, not scientists. If you are a real scientist you have a question and are looking for an answer. Further, the theory of Global Warming isn't, to my knowledge, a valid theory. In order for a theory to be scientifically valid there are two important conditions that I believe these guys haven't met. First, all of their predictions based on their theories and models have turned out to be badly wrong. They say "we tweaked the models, they are better now". Then they proceed with the next doomsday prediction which turns out not to come true, circle ad naseum. Second, and perhaps more importantly, they offer no experiment or future observation which would disprove the theory. Granted, an experiment on this one would be pretty much impossible. But instead of saying that if our predictions don't come true the theory isn't right, they only point to the models and say "given everything we learned over the last decade we can improve the model". If there is no observation or set of observations in the future which would disprove the theory then it isn't a valid scientific theory.

Let's just watch and see if the Russian astronomer is right. If he is the global temperature will start dropping significantly in the next 10-15 years. The climatologists will say, "Ah, we missed an important variable in the model, we have improved it." If he isn't right and 30 years from now the global temp is still rising, do you think the climatologists will say to him "dude, your theory is probably right, you should tweak your models"? I don't think so either.

Again, for all I know these lunatics could be right. For a whole pile of reasons I think we should reduce pollution and CO2 emmisions and all that good stuff. But just because they may turn out to be right we won't know for a thousand years and it will be dumb luck. If the temp keeps going up and over the next hundred years, the polar caps melt and Florida disappears that doesn't mean that humans caused it. If over the next hundred years it cools back, the caps refreeze and the planet goes into an ice age they would be wrong. What they are doing isn't science so I can't take these guys terribly serious.


Post a Comment

<< Home