December 31, 2010

One Question

Hatched by Dafydd

If I could have global-warming prophet-in-chief James Hansen, or the directors of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (those lovable, old curmudgeons who brought us Climategate), or any other "warm-monger" on the witness stand for just one, single question about putative anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC) -- the conjecture that the Earth is warming, the warming is primarily due to human activity, and that it's a looming catastrophe for the human race which must somehow be prevented, reversed or mitigated -- this would be it:

Can you please tell me, professor, one test, study, measurement, or experiment you can envision that includes, as one possible outcome, a result that would cause you, yourself to conclude that the central thesis of AGCC has been disproven?

Anything? Is AGCC falsifiable at all? Or does every possible result of every possible measurement inevitably support AGCC? Can you even imagine a result that would invalidate it? Because if a scientific theory is not falisifiable, then it most assuredly is not a scientific theory.

I wonder if I would get any response. Incredulous minds want to know! I suspect the witness, any such witness, would be loathe to describe any such experiment or test... because he would know that some well-credentialed but skeptical climate scientist would be sure to set it up and run it, just to be perverse.

And suppose it came up negative; what could the AGCC evangelist possibly say except "Hamina-hamina-hamina" -- and weep for his lost millions in grant money, and his lost tens of millions in royalties from the carbon-trading companies in which so many warmists have so heavily invested?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 31, 2010, at the time of 12:31 PM

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The following hissed in response by: snochasr

The fundamental mistake is giving CAGW credit for being a "theory" at all. The only way this is a "theory" is if you stick the word "cockamamie" in front of it. In science, a theory is something that offers the best working explanation for an observed phenomenon, and has been repeatedly and reliably tested. What we have here is technically a "hypothesis"-- one possible explanation for an observed phenomenon waiting for testing to determine if predictions made under the hypothesis can be verified. It often requires considerable additional analysis and testing to confirm the underlying principles driving the hypothesis (which in this case have not been done, either). Since the only way we can test the predictions of weather 100 years hence is to stick around and measure them 100 years hence, the experiment has NOT been done and the theory is just simple gasbaggery, nothing more.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 31, 2010 1:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dishman

I wouldn't bother.

All I'd say to James Hansen is "Make your time."

The above hissed in response by: Dishman [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 31, 2010 1:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dishman

Hansen is an advocate of his beliefs.

I don't believe he is equipped to sufficiently question his beliefs.

For an outsider, your question is, "Is there a single experiment that could cause the entire thing to collapse?"

I believe there is.

The above hissed in response by: Dishman [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 31, 2010 3:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: MarkJM

I believe a much better question would be:
"Can you please explain to me what percentage of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere is optimal for all living species on the planet? (please include details of how you reached that conclusion, along with historical factual data supporting your answer)."
A good follow-up would be... What factual evidence do you have to support that we (puny) humans have the ability to significantly change that percentage?

The above hissed in response by: MarkJM [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 31, 2010 4:47 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Interestingly enough, I just asked Hans von Storch this very same question:
in the comments. I basically asked him, how long does the current plateau in global temperatures have to go on before AGW is disproven. [Whether or not 2010 turns out to be slight warmer than 1998, there has been no statistically significant warming in a decade.] He said he doesn't know, but it's a fair question.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 1, 2011 8:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR


The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 1, 2011 8:14 PM

The following hissed in response by: GW

Hah. I swear I did not read your post before I wrote my own on the precise same topic today. What you propose is a question that needs to be asked of every AGW proponent, including the EPA administrator under oath before Congress. Further, to clean up the out of control AGW academia gravy train, we need a law that says anyone who publishes a study that does not contain the data, meta data, methodology and computer code, etc., sufficient to allow for reproducability of the study, will be prevented from receiving any future grants. Those things would go a long way to cleaning up the canard of AGW.

The above hissed in response by: GW [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 3, 2011 4:54 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

As happens whenever I read a post and comments about AGW, from the left or from the right, I am filled with a profound annoyance - are there no temperate souls left in the world? As I often do, I hereby register my protest:
1) We who have not studied the scientific papers, and worked through the math in detail, don't know anything about the subject. We are allowed to vote, because that's how a democracy works, but our opinions on the science don't count.
2) That means that ignorant blowhards - that means us, all of us, all of us who haven't studied the science and the math well enough to know anything much about it - have no business pretending we know what we're talking about either. We have no business scoffing at scientists who believe in AGW. We have no business scoffing at scientists who don't believe in AGW. (This protest can be used on both type of sites.) We are ignorant, so we should conduct ourselves as such.
3) That doesn't mean the science is in order. It doesn't mean it isn't. It doesn't mean that we have to believe the scientists. It also doesn't mean that we should be sure they're wrong.
4) There is no such thing as a subject where you can't find anecdotal evidence on both sides. Worse yet, a person hears many more anecdotes that agree with his point of view, if he reads mostly blogs that agree with him. This is the way most people form their opinions about most things. How is it that most liberals believe in AGW, and most conservatives don't? (Yes, but we're right!)
5) It doesn't mean much when individual scientists mess up. But don't trust those scientists in the future. Don't trust the ones who are covering up for them, either.
6) There are good scientists and incompetent scientists in the field. If you stay away from the polemicists, you should be able to discern that there are some honest practitioners. On both sides.
7) Wait. Eventually science will work things out, with or without the help of scientists, certainly without the help of non-scientists. It may take a while; there are powerful forces that can get in the way and slow down the process, and they are getting in the way right now.
Don't spend lots of money till they get their act together.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 3, 2011 9:15 AM

The following hissed in response by: Bill Befort

Questions involving control of worldwide economic activity and the redistribution of global resources won't be settled by the application of neutral science. We'll be very lucky to see them settled by politics short of war. Meanwhile, you didn't need a Ph.D. in economics to oppose scientific socialism in its Marxian form, and you don't need a degree in environmental science to recognize it in its current guise.

The above hissed in response by: Bill Befort [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 3, 2011 11:59 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Bill, all of that may be true. It is also irrelevant to the basic question: Is it harmful to the earth's climate to vastly increase the atmosphere's CO2 content? Might not be. Also might not be wise to just do things that change the earth's atmosphere on a large scale without thinking about what consequences they might cause.
Leave all the politically-guided fools out of this. Why should we be fools as well? Why can't we look at a straight scientific question without our politics telling us what the answer must be?

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 3, 2011 12:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Whew - close one.
1998 turns out to be slightly warmer than 2010 (until they adjust it, at least). Truth is, there was no statistically significant difference between the years either way. But at least I'm spared having to respond to dozen of triumphalist posts on liberal sites: "Will the deniers admit defeat now?"

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 3, 2011 1:50 PM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

I would (slightly) agree with MikeR, with the added corollary.

IF AGW is true then there is NOTHING on this Earth we can do to stop it. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. As such it becomes and academic excercise.

Most of the carbon in the world is controlled by nasty and/or poor people that have no choice but to sell it. There are loads of poor people in the world that have no choice but to buy it and burn it. There is no amount of money we can spend, no amount of talking we can do, that will change that formula for the foreseeable future. By the time 4 billion people in the world are rich enough to care, it will be too late.

The lie being propagated by the global warming alarmists is that the U.S. or Europe can do anything whatsoever about this situation. The best we can possibly do is impoverish ourselves, and have exactly the same result.

Smoke'em if you got 'em.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 3, 2011 4:18 PM

The following hissed in response by: Ben

I agree with Mike R.

The problem is, the "Global Warming Alarmist" community has adopted a You're With Us or Against Us strategy.

It is not good enough to say "this issue should be researched, and the science will eventually emerge." They want money and what's more, policy changes Now, Right Now or We Will All Die!

The various schemes proposed all involve shifting vast amounts of money and power in directions they either control, approve of, or directly benefit from, and like shady high pressure salesmen, each comes with an "You must Act Now or Lose this Incredible Offer!" pitch. And if you say something like "well, why don't we look into this before shutting down ten percent of the first world economy", then obviously you have been duped by the Evil Forces of Capitalism. Or, you are a selfish, nasty, evil and stupid person. No other possibilities are allowed.

I see some justification for some of their predictions. I see no justification for their attitudes, and no justification for the economically traumatic "solutions" proposed. Let's study, and learn.

They've adopted the term "denier", which has previously only been associated with the Holocaust. The Holocaust, bear in mind, has already occurred, and there are vast pools of evidence, including countless personal eye witnesses/participants/survivors, that it did in fact occur. The horrors of Global Warming, for the most part, have not occurred. No one has witnessed Bangladesh sinking beneath the sea. They are only predicted. So they have loaded all of the emotional baggage of "denier" onto a definition that merely means "does not fully agree with my predictions of catastrophe". And note I used the word "fully". In their view, skepticism is not allowed in the least. Any doubt is denial. This shows they have no interest in science. It's not about how to correctly interpret ocean temperatures and sunspots. It's about Right Belief, and those that dare to deny it- there is only one way to correctly interpret ocean temperatures, and that is the way that shows global warming.

Frankly, it is a frightening inversion of scientific method. Remember what we were all taught? Create a hypothesis, test it, change the hypothesis if the tests don't support it? Now, it's... change the tests. Or just hide the decline. Keep refining the data, and sooner or later it will match your hypothesis! And those why Deny, why, they are Evil, so ignore them.

The above hissed in response by: Ben [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2011 6:06 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

All true, Ben, with one caveat: The word "they" you are using. "They" are a bunch of lunatic leftists. But not every scientist involved is part of "they". I imagine that the majority of them are just trying to do their jobs, with a lot of politics going on around them. (It may be true, though, that the lunatics are running the asylum, right now.)
Know that the other side is doing the same thing, in reverse. It's easy to focus on the ones who scream about the AGW Fraud and that every climate scientist is a party to the fraud, and everyone knows that all the science is fake and they're all just lying...
Imagine how helpful it is to the skeptics' cause when some ordinary scientist in the field reads that this Senator or that pundit thinks he's a liar and a cheat. And there is a whole lot of this kind of talk out there. Every bit of it makes it seem like skeptics are a bunch of anti-science yahoos.
It's easy to identify fools on the other side. But why in the world is it helpful to focus on the fools, or imagine that that's all there is? Ignore the fools. And disagree with the fools on your own side; they make you look bad.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 5, 2011 8:48 AM

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