Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Global Warming Crusader Mentality

From Real Clear Politics:
Today’s news tells of another mistake of exaggerated climate science prediction.

I’m not getting in the foxhole with the warriors on either side of the raging climate war. But I think there’s something more alarming going on than the spike in CO2 level charts.

Our global system of air currents, ocean currents, cloud patterns, resonant temperature cycles, energy storage and release mechanisms, and further processes is mind-bogglingly complex.

Presently, the best climate models fall many orders of magnitude short of the power and intricacy needed to effectively predict the long-term climate patterns that emerge from the interactions of all these planetary systems. And that’s not a failure of science; it’s just the reality of how tough the problem is.

Predictions are made by building models using the smartest simplifications we have thought of and running them on the most powerful computers ever built. Basically, it’s the best we can do right now.

But there is a major failure of science going on.

The failure is the lack of transparency and honesty about how feeble these models are and how much we should stake on their all-too-fallible forecasts. Thus the same problem continues: climate science has once again botched a prediction that its models were underequipped to make.

It seems that there can be no moderate and honest discussion of this issue. Skeptics are singled out in creepy enemies lists. Actually, we’re now supposed to call them deniers, as though they were disputing the existence of HIV or the holocaust. Numerous scientists, as well as senators, anti-vaccination Kennedys, and clickbait purveyors have even called for the imprisonment and legal prosecution of those who disagree with them.

Climate science acts like it is fighting a holy war. There are only those who are just and those who must be silenced and stopped at all costs. Anyone who mounts reasonable logical, empirical, or skeptical challenges to the orthodoxy must be ruined, not by counterfactual evidence, but by vicious attack.

Weekly, we’re bombarded with doom-and-gloom future scenarios spit out of these models. The public is supposed to quiver in fear and to disregard and forget the many times that these predictions have failed.

Models told us that the years of 1998-2013 were supposed to show ever-increasing runaway warming. And yet, these years actually exhibited the famous “global warming hiatus.” An article published in Nature says that zero models predicted this.

Numerous modelers have told us that the Arctic polar ice would be completely gone by now. It’s still there. Many models now seem to skew in the opposite direction, predicting more ice than we see today.

Modeler Kerry Emanuel’s widely reported initial correlation of global warming with dramatically worse hurricane seasons has been strongly rebutted by multiple groups, leading him to reconsider.

The scientific failure here isn’t that models are inaccurate it’s that the models are presented as undebatable apocalyptic predictors, harbingers of certain future catastrophe. Omens that compel us to rethink our lives. If we take issue with that, we’re heretics.

Given how fallible climate models are, why shouldn’t we be skeptical of the scary headlines? How good can your science be if you try to prove your point by ruining your detractors rather than through empirical success?

Climate scientists may win their war in a friendly press and with political parties aligned with their agendas. But they make enemies of those people who make logical and empirical evaluations of their results, those who don’t give in to pressure and political and professional expediency.

The crusader mentality of climate researchers leads them away from the factual debate and empirical accounting of sound science. We really deserve more from our publicly funded scientific establishments.
One is tempted to say that, regardless of the moralism and intolerance of global warming advocates, it’s still perfectly possible they are right.

And indeed, it’s possible.

But when people start acting like crusaders, wanting to punish heresy and silence dissent, they lose all credibility. If the Inquisition believed that by suppressing heresy it was saving souls from the Hell toward which the heretics were leading them, modern global warming crusaders believe they are saving humanity from a climate catastrophe.   That sort of thinking is a huge invitation to both intellectual and moral corruption.

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1 Comments:

Blogger CS said...

Predicting some things about the future is not only tough, but impossible.

Remember how chaos theory was discovered? Edward Lorenz was messing with an early climate model and discovered that changing an input variable in the last decimal place totally changed the evolving weather pattern. This is classical indeterminacy, which no climate model can resolve.

Which is not to say we should be indifferent to the effects of human activity on the chemical composition of the atmosphere. What we know for sure is that raising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration will have, and indeed is already having, a huge impact on the biosphere, causing the Australian outback, the African Sahel and South America's savannas to green up, for reasons I outline here.

Even less well known but potentially even more important, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration may be having a catastrophic impact on human cognitive capacity.

Unfortunately, stupidity now rules even in science. Until the early post-WW2 period, those who trained as scientists were among the intellectual elite. But as politicians became convinced that power arose in the laboratories of the nation, a drive began to recruit more people into the research world, which meant tapping more and more of the less and less talented. The result today, is that few of the very brightest would consider a career in science, seeing it, for what it is, a bureaucratically dominated enterprise serving the political and corporate elite and tending to become ever more corrupted by political interference. Science, in fact, has become politically correct. Conclusions in many fields — drug testing, psychology, climatology — come first, facts are then selected accordingly to prove the case.

Of course there are still some good scientists. But they are few and far between and mostly on their last legs. And anyhow who's listening to a bunch of doddery old curmudgeons.

1:45 PM  

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