Climate Change: The Keywords (Part 2 of 3)

Written by Geraldo Luís Lino, special to Climate Change Dispatch – cross posted at WUWT

Albert Einstein’s response to the 1931 pamphlet "100 authors against Einstein," commissioned by the German Nazi Party as a clumsy contradiction to the Relativity Theory, said, "If I were wrong, then one would have been enough."

The second keyword for the long overdue reassessment of the climatic issues is knowledge, meaning a more comprehensive and better understanding of the climate dynamics.

However, as a prerequisite it is necessary to clear up a concept commonly misused and abused by the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) defenders: the idea that “science is settled” and that the so-called “scientific consensus” on the subject would be objected to only by some handfuls of diehard “skeptics.”

For starters, there is no such a thing like “settled science,” neither in Climatology nor in any other branch of science. The body of scientific knowledge is an open-ended and permanently ongoing construction that is always open to new evidences, new hypotheses, debate, questioning and revision – that’s how real science advances.

Also, “consensus” is a concept alien to science, which is not a “democratic” activity whose advance is driven by the weight of the number of followers of a certain line of thinking or theory – but by a permanent process of convergence between new hypotheses and evidences collected in the physical world.

Perhaps the best symbol of the meaninglessness of such numbers in science was Albert Einstein’s anthological response to the 1931 pamphlet “100 authors against Einstein,” which was commissioned by the German Nazi Party as a clumsy contradiction to the Relativity Theory, that did not fit the canons of the “Arian science.” He said then: “If I were wrong, then one would have been enough.” [1]

The same distortion has affected the concept of skepticism, which was granted a pejorative connotation in order to label the critics of the AGW – as if a permanent and healthy skepticism were not an indispensable requisite for any scientist worth of his or her salt. As the US National Academy of Sciences felt compelled to remind in a 1995 booklet:

“The fallibility of methods is a valuable reminder of the importance of skepticism in science. Scientific knowledge and scientific methods, whether old or new, must be continually scrutinized for possible errors… Organized and searching skepticism as well as an openness to new ideas are essential to guard against the intrusion of dogma or collective bias into scientific results.” [2]

It is indeed regrettable that this sober advice has been deliberately overlooked by a good deal of the scientific community involved in the climate research and related themes (beginning with the Academy itself). Perhaps, in many cases this attitude has been motivated by the lure of the incentives offered by the AGW machine – plentiful research grants, mediatic exposition, prestige, the professional pride of making part of a branch of science elevated to stardom, business consulting opportunities and many others.

On the other hand, besides the hundreds of billion dollars that have been wasted with the attempt of imposing a theory that is not supported by the physical world evidences, the “warmist” thrust is harming science in quite dangerous ways. First, it is pushing science aside from the perspective of providing a reasoned and relatively well informed assessment of the climate dynamics that may provide an useful guidance for long-term strategies and public policies – absolutely necessary due to the climate’s enormous importance in the human affairs. Second, it is distorting the public perception of science in such a way that the non-partisan climate scientists will likely have a hard time trying to regain the public trust after the seemingly unavoidable wear and tear of the alarmist outlook.

History offers a gloomy precedent of such poisoning of science by ideology and special interests: the infamous Lysenko affair in the former Soviet Union, the ruthless opposition to genetics headed by Trofim D. Lysenko and his cohorts between the 1930s and 1960s. In addition to the physical elimination of stubborn scientists who resisted the “consensual official line” (the “skeptics” of the time), the price of such an irrationality pandemics was enormous, costing the Soviet biological and agricultural sciences a half a century hold-up whose consequences are felt still today.

The AGW scare and its political agenda of restricting the use of fossil fuels are serious candidates to the condition of post-modern equivalents of “Lysenkoism.” [3]

As for the IPCC, it has been a political contrivance from the beginning, dedicated to the task of proving “the risk of human-induced climate change.” [4] So, its methodological procedures are suited to its political agenda of “justifying the greenhouse gases emission control, specially carbon dioxide,” as it was aptly described by S. Fred Singer, one of the deans of the atmospheric sciences still on duty. [5]

In fact, they are limited to a compilation and review of scientific (and others not so much) climate-related works published in between the issuing of its assessment reports (four so far). While this method may be useful to provide some overview of the state of the art of the climatic research, it cannot be relied upon for providing a more realistic and functional understanding of the climate dynamics.

With the obsessive fixation on carbon dioxide, the AGW thrust inoculated the climate science with the “reductionism virus,” the epistemological concept according to which complex phenomena can be understood by means of the sum of the understanding of their constituent parts, as with the solving of a puzzle game or the assemblage of a complex machine. However, if such an approach is useful for technological and engineering uses or even for some more simple phenomena, it is completely unsuitable in the case of complex, non-linear and chaotic systems like climate.

For this reason, the Apollo Program, the greatest technological accomplishment of the 20th century, could be achieved by NASA with a total computing capacity inferior to a modern cell phone’s – simply because all the scientific and technological requisites for that great enterprise were based on known physical and chemical laws and properties. In contrast, all the world’s computers now existing linked together could not provide a precise simulation of the climate dynamics – because the programmers would lack the proper knowledge of its functioning as a system and of all the interacting factors that influence it.

The present supercomputer-run Global Climate Models (GCMs) so dear to the AGW defenders are quintessential reductionist instruments. In a simplified way, a typical GCM divides the atmosphere in grid “boxes” of hundreds or thousands of square kilometers and some kilometers high, and tries to ascertain and quantify the energy flows and their influences on the climatic parameters in and between the “boxes.” As every “box” comprises several degrees of latitude and longitude and a multiplicity of physical and biological environments (kind of surface, relief, vegetation etc.), one can imagine the complexity of the process – that cannot provide but a very crude approximation of the physical world. Besides, as many factors that influence such flows are poorly known or even unknown, they are usually “adjusted,” “fixed,” (“parametrized” in the jargon) or simply ignored by the modelers. So, no wonder the discrepancies between the models and the real world observations are generally considerable. [6]

For this reason, it is hard to see how a comprehensive understanding of the climate dynamics could be obtained by putting “atmospheric boxes” together like the pieces of a global scale puzzle – a practice whose uses should be restricted to academic drills.

For that task an “holistic” approach is needed, one that regards the climate as an integral system in itself and study its evolution along the Earth’s geological history thoroughly, taking into account all the astrophysical, atmospheric, oceanic, geological, geomorphologic and biological factors that influence it and their multiple and complex interactions, many of them – it’s worth repeating – are still poorly known.

The model of epistemological approach and international scientific cooperation needed for a serious advancement of the climate science is not the IPCC, but the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year (IGY), the remarkable effort that united tens of thousands of scientists from 66 countries at the height of the Cold War in order to advance the systemic and comprehensive knowledge of the Earth dynamics and its interactions with the Sun and the Cosmos. The motivation and the mood of that great enterprise, as well as the “holistic” kind of approach chosen for its research programs, can be seen in the following passage of one of the many contemporary popular books written to present the IGY to the general public:

“(…) The whole Earth and the ‘laboratory’ of the Solar System are necessary for a comprehensive study of the weather, the air, the oceans and the ice of the Earth; the upper atmosphere or ionosphere; the solid earth; the energy that comes at the Earth from space, and the Sun, the main source of energy. These phenomena are too closely interrelated to be studied separately… All of the great phenomena of the dynamic Earth are being studied at one time, ‘synoptically,’ and the millions of facts being gathered will be compared. The IGY is the largest fact-finding enterprise ever undertaken. It is seeking answers to some of the most important questions that man has ever asked.” [7]

The IGY still stands as Mankind’s greatest collective scientific enterprise ever. The spirit of global cooperation, the epistemological approach, the methodologies, standards and procedures developed for its coordinated and joint researches, the huge mass of gathered data, the quality of the obtained results and the optimistic visions of science and its role for the progress it helped to instill among the general public were enormous contributions for the advancement of science and brought forth a great deal of benefits for all Mankind – a feat diametrically opposed to the disservice done by the IPCC.

One can only regret that the 50th anniversary of that great endeavor has gone almost unnoticed by the global media and academia.

Perhaps if the development of the “holistic” approach to the geophysical phenomena that inspired the IGY had not been interrupted by the “warmist” tsunami, climate science could be now much more advanced towards the epistemological “quantum leap” needed for the systemic understanding of the Earth’s climate.

In any case, the revival of that pioneering and gripping spirit (and the corresponding dumping of the “warmism”) is a necessity if we really intend to be serious about the climate.

Sources:

1. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1988.

2. National Academy of Sciences, On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research. Washington: National Academy Press, 1995.

3. See the Wikipedia entries for “Trofim Lysenko” and “Lysenkoism.”

4. IPCC, “Principles governing IPCC work”, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf.

5. S. Fred Singer (Ed.), Nature, Not Human Activity Rules the Climate. Chicago: The Heartland Institute, 2008, http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/22835.pdf.

6. For a general overview of the climate models see the Wikipedia entry for “Global climate model.”

7. Alexander Marshack, The World in Space: The Story of the International Geophysical Year. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1958.

Geraldo Luís Lino is a Brazilian geologist and author of the book “The Global Warming Fraud: How a Natural Phenomenon was Converted into a False World Emergency” (published in 2009 in Portuguese and just published in Spanish in Mexico).

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55 Responses to Climate Change: The Keywords (Part 2 of 3)

  1. John Whitman says:

    Geraldo Luís Lino,

    What high energy you bring with your vibrant style!

    Please keep posting here.

    John

  2. cranston says:

    Sorry, but there is such a thing as settled science. It ‘s just that it is not settled by consensus.

  3. trbixler says:

    Funny how such emphasis is placed on models and very little in compiling a quality controlled data set of the earths climate metrics. There should be a proposal put forth the would include the design of the data set and the design of the archival procedure. The archival procedure needs to include logged entries for changes to the original data but no actual changes to the archived data. Of course log entries to changes of changes. How can it be that everyone wants to shout the hottest this or that and the fundamental data has been questionably modified. Build a rock solid base first!

  4. Kath says:

    From the “love to hate” Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogma

    “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioner or believers.”

    AGW=Dogma
    QED

  5. John Whitman says:

    Geraldo Luís Lino,

    I appreciated you giving recognition to Dr. Singer, one of the heroic independent scientists on whose shoulders many now stand.

    Geraldo Luís Lino quoted Dr. Singer as follows; ‘So, its methodological procedures are suited to its political agenda of “justifying the greenhouse gases emission control, specially carbon dioxide,” as it was aptly described by S. Fred Singer, one of the deans of the atmospheric sciences still on duty.

    John

  6. James Sexton says:

    “(and the corresponding dumping of the “warmism”) ”
    =========================================================

    The “unlearning” necessary for that to occur would be an immense task. Other than a complete reversal of the indoctrination received in every level of our education system, I can only hope that the issue slides back to irrelevancy, to where a slow meaningful change in our body of knowledge can occur.

  7. Pointman says:

    I may just be me but there seems to be a reporting blackout on the upcoming Cancun climate conference. The only site I can find addressing this void seems to be

    http://ourmaninsichuan.wordpress.com/

    which is running a Cancun week of blogs.

    Pointman

  8. John Q Public says:

    Great article. The 100 scientist vs Einstein and Lysenkoism examples are excellent. Good points.

  9. Christopher Bowring says:

    It is true that empirical science is never settled. But conjectures in mathematics, the queen of sciences, are settled by logical proofs that cannot be gainsaid.

  10. Engchamp says:

    Thank you again, Geraldo. Most illuminating; both your part 1 and this post have helped me coalesce my own thoughts.
    I await your part 3 with eager anticipation.

  11. John Q Public says:

    AGW = Neo-Lysenkoism

  12. robertvdl says:

    Talking about Albert Einstein

    Understanding E = mc2 by William Tucker
    William Tucker explaines how Einstein’s equation applied to renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro. It showed that the limits of renewable energy have nothing to do with politics or research dollars, but rather with simple mathematics.
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6018

    Terrestrial Energy Part 1 – William Tucker
    [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVEMOAnhamU ]

  13. berniel says:

    As for the IPCC, it has been a political contrivance from the beginning, dedicated to the task of proving “the risk of human-induced climate change.”

    …and yet the first report and its suppliment in 1992 are both decidedly restrained. That the IPCC scientists resisted the temptation/pressure to this point is important to remember. The 2rd report was going the same way (and if it did the IPCC would not be the household name it is today) until Madrid, December 1995, when the scientific consensus was changed for political purposes.

    The Geophysical Year was a marvellous international effort, and yes it should be remembered, but there is no comparision with here for the IPCC. The IPCC does not do primary research but only reviews the science.
    See discussion of this history here:
    http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/an-insider%E2%80%99s-history-of-the-global-warming-scare/

    There will alway be someone who will not resist the temptation/pressure to step into the role of doomsayer. We cant stop maverick scientists doing that. And yet the rest of the scientific community could discredit the science — instead there is silence and passive support by those who know better.

    The role of the great institutions of science in promoting this scare is significant — and significant historical. In the past science has been on the other side calming irrational fears. The most important institution in the history of science is the Royal Society. Its 350 celebrations on 28 Nov will be presided over by Lord Rees.

    In 2003 Rees wrote and promoted a book called ‘Our Final Century,’ which brings together the sum of all our apocalyptic fears and predicts the demise of our species before 2100 in the name of science. For his efforts, in 2005, he was promoted to the peerage and to the head of the Royal Society.
    More here:
    http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/apocalyptic-enthusiasm-and-the-royal-society/

  14. jmmi says:

    Just as an matter of interest, can anyone find a specific quote from a specific scientist who stated “The science is settled” or words equivalent to that, so that if I ever met him or her I can tell them that they are an idiot, because anyone who states that climate science is settled is an idiot. Of course the converse is true – anyone who rejects all of a given area of science just because some parts are uncertain is also an idiot, and perhaps an even greater one.

  15. GregO says:

    “The IGY still stands as Mankind’s greatest collective scientific enterprise ever. The spirit of global cooperation, the epistemological approach, the methodologies, standards and procedures developed for its coordinated and joint researches, the huge mass of gathered data, the quality of the obtained results and the optimistic visions of science and its role for the progress it helped to instill among the general public were enormous contributions for the advancement of science and brought forth a great deal of benefits for all Mankind – a feat diametrically opposed to the disservice done by the IPCC.

    One can only regret that the 50th anniversary of that great endeavor has gone almost unnoticed by the global media and academia.”
    =========================================================

    Thank you for reminding us all of this “great endeavor”.

    Pity that modern climate science cannot emulate this approach.

  16. johanna says:

    Christopher Bowring says:
    November 14, 2010 at 11:59 am

    It is true that empirical science is never settled. But conjectures in mathematics, the queen of sciences, are settled by logical proofs that cannot be gainsaid.
    ———————————————————————————–

    Christopher, mathematics in the sense you describe it is a closed system, with its own internal logic. It cannot be compared with external, multidisciplinary studies such as climate science, ecology or even history.

    Great post – did the author write it himself, in English? If not, the translator deserves a credit as well for capturing Lino’s clear, vivid writing style while communicating complex ideas.

  17. Don Ritson says:

    Geraldo Luis Lino states that ‘ Knowledge is the second keyword for the long overdue reassessment of climate issues’
    True, but the most important keyword is wisdom.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit – wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.
    I’ll get my coat….

  18. Glen Michell says:

    Spare a thought for people who cannot express an opinion on the matter for the the fear of being ostracised or worse. This mantric approach is wearing abit thin – though our ABC ( Australia ) has not approached the subject lately- save for a few murmurings on a carbon tax from govt. all is quiet . I hope time shows them the wiser.

  19. Mike says:

    “For starters, there is no such a thing like “settled science,” neither in Climatology nor in any other branch of science. The body of scientific knowledge is an open-ended and permanently ongoing construction that is always open to new evidences, new hypotheses, debate, questioning and revision – that’s how real science advances.”

    I’ll be sure to cite this is my NFS proposal to study the complex and intriguing relationships between astrology, creationism and the flat Earth theory.

    “Also, “consensus” is a concept alien to science, which is not a “democratic” activity whose advance is driven by the weight of the number of followers of a certain line of thinking or theory – but by a permanent process of convergence between new hypotheses and evidences collected in the physical world.”

    Ya! Why convene panels of experts or seek the opinions of professional societies of scientists when we can rely on blogs!!

    The “physical world” cannot make our decisions for us. We have to make them. Given that fact, the only question how to make them. Do we rely on blogs and radio talk show hosts? Perhaps we are better served by listening to the scientists when it comes to figuring out what is most likely true about the physical world. It is still up to us to decide what to do.

  20. BFL says:

    Oddly there is a physics minority that insists that the light speed barrier for physical objects only applies to atomic physics because since the speed of light is fixed then it cannot measure anything faster than its own speed or make anything go faster for the same reason using magnetic fields.
    Similarly gravity and its speed are “defined” artificially through “warped space” and then manipulated mathematically to make it match the observed orbital results, wherein using gravity as nearly instantaneous greatly simplifies the mathematics.
    http://ldolphin.org/vanFlandern/gravityspeed.html

    As far as AGW climate science, the potential for errors and abuse in the model concept and the sorry state of world themometers should be pointed out mercilessly at every opportunity.

  21. old construction worker says:

    I started educating myself about the pros and cons of “CO2 causes Global warming” in 2005. One of the first “facts” I can across was 1) the hypothesis that co2 caused Venus to have a “run away atmosphere” that as stabilized into it present day atmosphere and then that hypothesis was transfer to the earth’s atmosphere along with computer models to “prove it”. 2) A certain politician wanted to promote nuclear power and break the “back of the coal miners union political power”. I became very skeptical.
    If I had learn something like a young meteorologist found that the upper troposphere temperature was warming faster than the surface temperature, it may have made a huge difference in my skepticism.

  22. Stephen Brown says:

    How, Oh how can I get the present Government in the United Kingdom to read and understand articles such as this?
    We (the UK taxpayers) are trillions of pounds in debt and yet we persist in throwing vast sums of money (which we no longer have) at an alleged ‘problem’ which appears to exist no longer.
    Look at the mind-sets apparent here:- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/scotland/8129883/Bonkers-green-energy-risks-power-shortages.html
    “… ministers dismissed his claims last night and argued their target of generating 80 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 was realistic, despite the cost and unproven nature of the technology involved. ”
    The politicians are rubbishing the advice given by the chief executive of Aggreko, the world’s largest temporary power company. It is head-quartered in Glasgow. At the end of 2009, it had a fleet of 13,000 generators ranging in size from 10kW to 2MW, which in aggregate amounted to over 5,900MW of generating capacity, the equivalent of about 10% of peak power demand on the UK national grid. (Wikipedia acknowledged).
    This article gives some degree of information about the complete fool that we in the UK presently have as our Energy and Climate Change Minister:-
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/7908254/Chris-Huhne-to-announce-increase-in-wind-turbines.html
    We in the UK appear to be much worse off than the citizens of California by a very long way.

  23. Theo Goodwin says:

    The phrase “the science is settled” can be viewed as ambiguous.

    On the one hand, it can be taken to mean that the final set of hypotheses has been formulated and the evidence for them is totally conclusive. Obviously, this interpretation is nonsense. This reading can be softened as “a workable set of hypotheses has been formulated and the evidence has shown them to be reasonably well confirmed.” On this view, no one believes that some hypotheses will not be revised or rejected and new hypotheses created as the science progresses. In addition, no one doubts that the body of evidence will change with time. This is the standard interpretation and it is incompatible with the view that the science is final and fixed.

    On the other hand, I think that sometimes when scientists say “the science is settled” what they mean is that they expect to continue with their existing research program, tools, goals, and similar items. For example, a scientist trained in classic Skinnerian behavioral science might study human language learning and might be committed to his/her program. In saying that the science is settled, this person means simply that they will continue what they are doing. They are making no reference to particular hypotheses or their evidence.

    I believe that many of the scientists who give their tacit approval to the claim that the science is settled are using the second interpretation. All they mean is that further studies are worth undertaking. They make no reference to conclusions at all.

    So, when someone asserts that “the science is settled,” ask them if they mean that the scientific hypotheses and evidence are settled. If they respond affirmatively, ask them to produce them. Climate science has never produced the needed hypotheses.

  24. Bad Andrew says:

    “Do we rely on blogs and radio talk show hosts?”

    No. We rely on our own judgement. To do otherwise is stupidity, which is definately not scientific.

    Andrew

  25. Bad Andrew says:

    Sorry “definitely”! ;)

    Andrew

  26. Gordo says:

    Its ‘Post-Normal Science’ concensus, the Frankfurt School science version of political correctness. The same free speech suppression from the same group who have their own agenda, and God help those who stand in their way.

  27. Sun Spot says:

    @Mike says:
    November 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm “Ya! Why convene panels of experts or seek the opinions of professional societies of scientists when we can rely on blogs!!”

    Ahhh Mikey, nice Luddite statement ! Isn’t it ironic that some scientists are having a problem with feedback on their ideas and hypothesis via the internet (blogs). The whole Internet got its start to expedite science and engineering and now you can’t handle the tool when it exposes pseudo science of CAGW.

  28. Enneagram says:

    What about this:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/42482741/Unified-Field-Explained-9
    Seek whereever you want, you will find the same law expressed by every tradition and every symbol. Time to change paradigms, the dark ages are ending.
    Dare to rediscover the same law. It is everywhere.

  29. Bad Andrew says:

    Indeed, that is one of the problems that Warmers face. The evidence for AGW doesn’t “speak for itself.” In fact, there really is no evidence for AGW to present. Squggly lines aren’t evidence, they are drawings. Sets of unverifiable numbers have no meaning. Melting ice is anecdotal. There’s nothing left.

    Andrew

  30. Engchamp says:

    johanna says:
    November 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm
    Christopher Bowring says:
    November 14, 2010 at 11:59 am

    “It is true that empirical science is never settled. But conjectures in mathematics, the queen of sciences, are settled by logical proofs that cannot be gainsaid.
    ———————————————————————————–

    Christopher, mathematics in the sense you describe it is a closed system, with its own internal logic. It cannot be compared with external, multidisciplinary studies such as climate science, ecology or even history.”

    How true johanna.
    There are very few scientists who are able to assimilate all the main topics, or subject matter of climate science, and integrate that wealth of data into a meaningful hypothesis which include (in no particular order):-
    astronomy, solar activity, oceanography, geology, physics, chemistry, and common sense (no-one needs a meteorologist to tell you which way the wind is blowing, and from what I can gather worldwide, said weather-forecasters are wrong more often than not, with a few exceptions).
    It is fairly obvious that the driving force behind Earth’s climate is the Sun, at present very quiescent, and from the data that I have seen, it would be apparent that we are heading for a cold spell. That ‘spell’ could last for centuries, but we do not know enough to predict this with any confidence.
    I would suggest, especially in light of our new-found satellite data, that more credence is placed upon the Earth cooling, rather than warming (which is far more beneficial to us), and try to agree that (a) CO2 is far from detrimental to our survival, indeed it is necessary, and (b) that it is paramount that H2O (in all its states) is far more important.

  31. savethesharks says:

    Bravissimo!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  32. MartinGAtkins says:

    Mike says:
    November 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Ya! Why convene panels of experts or seek the opinions of professional societies of scientists when we can rely on blogs!!

    I presume you mean we would seek the advice of experts in the field of the study relevant to the question being asked. We would then ask each expert to give us an appraisal of how their opinion was reached. We would not give them our answer to the problem and ask them to vote on its validity without giving them full access to our methods and data. No vote is required. We would appraise each submission and in the event of disagreement we would make a decision based on our own judgment of all the competing observations. Where there is broad agreement on all submissions we can move ahead with our decision with a degree of enhanced confidence.

    A professional society has no place giving opinions without submitting the findings of each of its members in the given field.

    The “physical world” cannot make our decisions for us. We have to make them. Given that fact, the only question how to make them. Do we rely on blogs and radio talk show hosts?

    Let’s say you don’t believe gravity exits. To prove it your going to jump off a very tall building without using anything to retard your velocity on the way down and when your done your going down too the local pub and over a pint tell your mates gravity doesn’t exist. After you jump of the building the “physical world” will decide for you if your going down the pub or not. You don’t need blogs, radio talk show hosts or scientists to tell you the end result of your actions.
    In this case you can trust the advice of your dear old mum.

  33. Mr Lynn says:

    robertvdl says:
    Understanding E = mc2 by William Tucker
    William Tucker explaines how Einstein’s equation applied to renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro. It showed that the limits of renewable energy have nothing to do with politics or research dollars, but rather with simple mathematics.
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6018

    Thanks for the link to this lucid article explaining the inherent limits of ‘renewable’ (.e. mechanical) energy compared to that generated by chemical reactions and nuclear fission. I have sent it around to family and friends.

    /Mr Lynn

  34. Mooloo says:

    Mike says:
    November 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    “For starters, there is no such a thing like “settled science,” neither in Climatology nor in any other branch of science. The body of scientific knowledge is an open-ended and permanently ongoing construction that is always open to new evidences, new hypotheses, debate, questioning and revision – that’s how real science advances.”

    I’ll be sure to cite this is my NFS proposal to study the complex and intriguing relationships between astrology, creationism and the flat Earth theory.

    ———————-

    A childish comeback. We all know that science can prove some things are effectively not possible, like a flat earth. Others, like creationism, require such a distortion of the evidence that they become effectively the same. Others still are possible, but have no suitable mechanism, like astrology.

    It is quite a different thing to assert that because you have found a mechanism that explains a measured phenomenon, that you have found an explanation, once and for all. Even dead certs (say Newton’s theory of gravity) can be shown later to be wrong.

    Science is never settled, in the sense that explanations are in constant state of revision.

    Even in fields, say evolution, we know that advances are most likely to be small and gradual the scope for disagreement is huge. But climate science isn’t at anywhere near that limit of prediction yet.

    To claim that it is “settled” just because we can now exclude a large number of possible options, say that Thor brings the weather, is the height of folly.

  35. eo says:

    SCIENCE- when it comes to the word science the first thing that comes to mind is NATURAL SCIENCE. I agree there is no such thing as a settled (natural) science or consensus in pure (natural) science. Consensus is part of applied (natural) science or engineering such as in factor of safety, standards, etc to protect the profession from the uncertainty. However, in engineering or applied (natural) science research funds are dedicated to reduce the uncertainty similar to hedging. The other big branch of science is social science and social science is based on consensus or scientific consensus and in the case of law– a branch of social science the science is settled such as the case when majority of the supreme court judges had reached a consensus. Most of the people advocating the science is settled or there is scientific consensus are social scientists like Ravetz. The bad thing about climate change is the investment of researches to support the uncertain decisions made by politicians rather than hedging it. So if the political or social science consensus is that global warming and trillions are poured to this decision, the researches that could be in billions should be concentrated to the premise that there is NO global warming. If the political decision has been made that there is NO global warming the researches should be directed to the position that there is global warming. So Phil Jones, Hansen, Mann and other supporters of global warming should not receive any research grants and if at very minimal. The research grants should go to the skeptics.
    ]]]]]]]]]]

  36. gary murphy says:

    A very fine description, Geraldo Luís Lino. One highly influential modeling consideration seldom mentioned, and perhaps overlooked, is the number mixing cells selected in the simulation. Just double the number and see how the results change. Keep doubling or quadrupling until little change is observed… but then computer run times become formidable. Also, look at the necessary simplified treatment of the natural physical phenomena. What about the numerical methods employed? Yes, results are always in question.

    As a long time, now retired, Professional Engineer, I continuously grappled with those decisions. Even the most simple of problems, say natural convection in a heated environment, produced eye opening predictions, showing dramatic changes depending upon those methods mentioned above. Thank goodness, we generally had test data to compare. Estimating temperatures by math modeling and expecting 1 degree accuracy is silly, both for simple problems and certainly for a global one.

  37. davidmhoffer says:

    An excellent article on the distortions required for what is being paraded around as a consensus to be called science at all. It is amazing to me that someone can come up with a theory, build a computer model based on that theory, and then claim the results of the computer model as evidence supporting the theory.

    It is so transparent that any astute observer with a passing familiarity with the issues should see right through it. But the most astute observers of societal trends, the politicians, seem even more taken in than the average person on the street. Why?

    My personal opinion is that a great deal of time and effort has been put into false economic arguments promoting “green jobs”. There seems to be some sort of notion that “green jobs” will create more wealth than is lost from limiting co2 emissions and who ever gets going first will have an economic advantage by being early in the market. There’s no doubt that limiting co2 emissions by edict or by punitive taxation will cause a shift in the economy. Energy intensive industries will be less profitable and the resulting lay offs and bankruptcies will lead to lower labour and land costs which in turn make those few (very few) industries for which energy is a small component of operating costs more viable. The notion that the jobs gained will be a significant fraction of the jobs lost is just as twisted a misrepresentation of economics as AGW is of science. But a lot of politicians seem to have bought both.

  38. Alex the skeptic says:

    A great scientific and educational post from Geraldo Luís Lino published in the still-banned-sections-of-the-information-media, that is, the skeptic’s blogs. The MSM has the moral obligation, responsibility, to publish this and similar posts for the benefit of humankind.

    Moral of the story, never let science fall into the hands of politicians (and journalists).

  39. Christopher Hanley says:

    davidmhoffer, these are the ‘green jobs’ the CAGW hysterics have in mind.
    http://bfi-internal.org/dsnews/v9_no9/green_jobs.jpg
    These are the ‘green jobs’ which are the reality and, if they have their way, will carry on indefinitely.
    http://squierj.freeyellow.com/India2006/0172CalcuttaRickshaw.jpg

  40. John Marshall says:

    I remember the IGY and a great effort and learning curve it was. It was during this time that sea bed magnetometry was undertaken and this discovered the sudden changes of the planets polarity N-S,S-N. this went a long way to prove the theory of plate tectonics, long ridiculed, which still stands.
    Oh for another such discovery proving that AGW is rubbish.
    Hey!! I remember, there are lots of proof it is just that the alarmists have such a poor grasp of the basics of physics so as to continue their tirades.

  41. Viv Evans says:

    Excellent article – I especially enjoyed the Einstein quote!

    On another level altogether is this throw-away remark by Mike (@ 2:13 pm):
    “I’ll be sure to cite this is my NFS proposal to study the complex and intriguing relationships between astrology, creationism and the flat Earth theory.”

    We’ve had the ‘flat-earth’ comparison already (last year, the then UK PM Gordon Brown used it to denigrate sceptics) – but smearing sceptics with being creationists is relatively new. It looks to me as if the warmistas are now using this in preference to other smear words – and they are of course again singing from the same song sheet.

    When will they grasp that denigrating those with differing opinions does not validate their statements to CAWG?

  42. UK Sceptic says:

    Another excellent post. Thank you Geraldo.

  43. Roger Carr says:

    Don Ritson says: (November 14, 2010 at 2:07 pm) Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit – wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

    Sheesh, Don! I was just about to write a gentle note to point out you had your example way round wrong… then got a hit of wisdom just a fraction before I hit “publish” Phew… close one.

  44. Ammonite says:

    “Settled science” can be a meaningful and useful concept depending on the question being asked and the precision to which an answer is required. As with all communication, context is the key. Suppose someone claims that Newtonian mechanics is settled science with respect to hitting golf balls on the moon. Does it make much sense to harangue them about relativistic principles? Is their statement a sign of unmitigated arrogance and ignorance of the provisional nature of all scientific knowledge, or rather, a practical and defensible comment on what has proven predictable and repeatable for hundreds of years?

    The first point to be determined with respect to “settled science” is in what context it is being used.

  45. David says:

    Stephen Brown – 100% with you. As a retired professional engineer, Alec Salmond and Chris Huhne’s blundering, incompetent, uninformed blind faith in unachieveable goals leave me both speechless and seething with rage..
    Right now as I look out of my window (in East Anglia – close to the Dogger Bank, Mr Huhne) – I would wager that the wind farms (certainly in this neck of the woods) are not producing a single watt – never mind kilowatts or megawatts… Its a cold autumn day – to be followed by a dark and colder autumn night – are these two nitwits going to rush round to all their precious wind farms to blow on the blades..? When will they get into their thick heads that we need 100% capacity 100% of the time..??

    Rant over – the article is brilliant, by the way…

  46. Frank K. says:

    “But conjectures in mathematics, the queen of sciences, are settled by logical proofs that cannot be gainsaid.”

    Hmmm…but what about…Bertrand Russell and Russell’s paradox? And Kurt Goedel and the Goedel incompleteness theorems?

  47. Frank K. says:

    ..oops…that should be Kurt Godel.

  48. Jimbo says:

    jmmi says:
    November 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm
    Just as an matter of interest, can anyone find a specific quote from a specific scientist who stated “The science is settled” or words equivalent to that, so that if I ever met him or her I can tell them that they are an idiot, because anyone who states that climate science is settled is an idiot.

    Lisa Jackson [EPA] is a Chemical Engineer. According to the NYT:

    The science behind climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming,” Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “That conclusion is not a partisan one.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/02/23/23greenwire-epa-chief-goes-toe-to-toe-with-senate-gop-over-72892.html
    See also “settled facts” from the NAS
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/05/19/national-academy-of-sciences-america%E2%80%99s-climate-choices-global-warming/

  49. woodNfish says:

    there is no such a thing like “settled science,” neither in Climatology nor in any other branch of science.

    Sorry, but there is no such thing as “climate science”, but there is climate religion and government grants – lots and lots of government grants.

  50. Enneagram says:

    There is another distinction we should acknowledge: Currently engineering it is quite different than “pure science”, as the first has to produce ACTUAL results, where methods are tested several times, and where engineers has no shame of recognizing errors and mistakes for the sake of achieving their practical (non dreaming) goals.
    Funnily neither only one of the nanny theories of “settled science” has been proved nor, what is worst, can be proved. They are in the same category as those phantoms like “Black Holes” and parallel universes, no matter how cinematographic they may be.
    All that crap is what Prof.Khabibulo Abdusamatov has properly defined as “Hollywood Science”.
    Can you imagine how everyone in the real world (not that “world” of yours) may be laughing at you?

  51. Thomas Hesketh says:

    There’s a nice corollary in this, something like….

    If they were right, one would be enough.

  52. R. Craigen says:

    I disagree that there is no such thing as “settled science”. My objection has not particular impact on the overall argument here, but I must object on principle as a mathematician. Mathematics is a branch of science, and within this discipline we have a name for “settled science”: Theorems.

    Theorems are not obtained purely in terms of external evidence; they are derived from first principles, and (assuming the methodology at which a theorem is arrived is valid) unassailable. There are some deep philosophical caveats one may apply, but these are not of any interest to those not working in esoteric fields of philosophy.

    In point of fact, mathematics (that is, THEOREMS in mathematics) is established deductively, whereas physical science is established inductively. Knowledge of mathematical truth flows purely from logic, whereas physical scientific “truth” flows from evidence, and hence is implicitly tentative.

    This is an important distinction. We do not “believe” the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic ( — that every positive integer is uniquely expressible as a product of primes — ) we “know” it. It is not arrived at by performing experiments over and over until we are convinced; it is established by an argument that demonstrates that things cannot be otherwise.

    This is an important distinction when discussing climate science, for two reasons. First, mathematics is the language of science. If something is not expressible in mathematical terms, in a certain sense it is not science. Math is fundamental in a way other sciences are not. It is math that enables us to objectively say such-and-such a datum is trending upward or downward, or what its rate of change is, or whether its graph is clustering around a certain curve, etc. It is also the language that enables us to say in precise terms what level of confidence one has in this or that quantitative assertion based on data. It is the language that enables us to express the relationships supposedly embodied by “models” of climate, and it is mathematical terms that we can discuss the adequacies and inadequacies of such models.

    The other way mathematics is relevant is that it provides not only a language but also a deductive framework for obtaining conclusions beyond the evidence. We can use Henry’s Law (from physics), for example, to predict, with near certainty, exactly what amount of atmospheric CO2 will be absorbed in (or released from) the ocean under such-and-such conditions and assumptions. Etc.

    Simply looking at the public discourse on climate science (not at scientific papers) I must say that those who write about the subject from the so-called “skeptical” position are much more conversant with mathematics. A sort of “mathematics” appears in the discourse of the AGW crowd, but I would characterize it as “scary big numbers”, which probably says all you need to know about my opinion of it: it is designed not to appeal to any mathematical understanding, but counts on mathematical ignorance, indeed math phobia, in the intended audience. Without considering anything else, it is the AGW crowd’s aversion to the settled science of mathematics that leaves me the most skeptical of their position.

  53. R. Craigen says:

    johanna writes “Christopher, mathematics in the sense you describe it is a closed system, with its own internal logic. It cannot be compared with external, multidisciplinary studies such as climate science, ecology or even history.”

    This is a common sentiment, usually intended to dismiss mathematics as irrelevant. Objectively yes, math cannot be compared if you mean by that that it is fundamentally different in nature from other sciences. But as I argue above it is not at all irrelevant, for without mathematics other sciences retain neither a working language in which to express results nor the basic tools to perform the inferential function of science. The main way in which math differs from other sciences is that it is prior to these sciences. It is prerequisite. It is the opposite of “irrelevant” — it is the MOST relevant science.

  54. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” R. Craigen says:
    November 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm
    johanna writes “Christopher, mathematics in the sense you describe it is a closed system, with its own internal logic. It cannot be compared with external, multidisciplinary studies such as climate science, ecology or even history.”

    This is a common sentiment, usually intended to dismiss mathematics as irrelevant. Objectively yes, math cannot be compared if you mean by that that it is fundamentally different in nature from other sciences. But as I argue above it is not at all irrelevant, for without mathematics other sciences retain neither a working language in which to express results nor the basic tools to perform the inferential function of science. The main way in which math differs from other sciences is that it is prior to these sciences. It is prerequisite. It is the opposite of “irrelevant” — it is the MOST relevant science. “””””

    Well I wouldn’t call “mathematics” a science; there’s nothing scientific about it. It is ALL pure fiction; and there is absolutely nothing in any branch of mathematics, that actually exists anywhere in the physical universe. We made it all up in our heads.

    But it is true, that mathematics IS a wonderful and powerful discipline; and it certainly is a pre-requisite for doing any real science. But mathematics is just a tool box full of anthropogenic tools, that we created to use to describe the behavior of our models of various phenomena of the real universe.

    And we keep on making up new mathematics as becomes necessary to describe ever more esoteric models.

    Any branch of mathematics is defined by a set of axioms; whose truth is assumed to be self evident; but that isn’t even necessary; they don’t even have to be universally true. But the class of mathematics is restricted only to those things which conforms to the starting axioms. Then the study of mathematics essentially consists of exploring the space of manipulations that remain within the realm defined by the axioms.

    Thus the Geometrical Theorems of Euclid are in no way defining of geometry; they are simply discoveries that are consistent with the axioms of Euclidean Geometry.

    One can easily define other geometries; that are non-Euclidean where other rules apply. They may not have any practical use at all.

    An example would be what is known as “Projective Geometry.” It’s basic axioms are quite simple.

    1/ Two points define a line. (the line joining the two points)

    2/ Two lines define a point. (the point where the two lines intersect; PG is a plane geometry)

    3/ There are at least 4 points. (draw the 4-points of a Charlie Brown Kite; or the Southern Cross).

    That’s all there is to it. The first theorem of PG proves that there are at least 7 points. The centre point of the kite is where the two diagonal lines intersect; and the opposite side pairs of lines locate two more points.

    Axiom #2 would seem to eliminate parallel lines; which in Euclidean Geometry never meet. They do in PG, and they meet at a point on “the line at infinity”. Don’t railroad rails meet on the line at infinity ? Of course you alway draw that line somewhere near the edge of the page.

    Within the set of rules; you can’t prove that there exist any more than seven points. They might exist; you just can’t prove it.

    You can actually describe the conic sections in projective geometry; even though a cone can’t exist, since it is a plane geometry; well the sections are plane figures. Ellipses do no intersect the line at infinity. Hyperbolas do intersect the line at infinity at two points. Parabolas touch the line at infinity at two co-incident points.

    Circles are weird. A circle cuts the line at infinity at the two “circular points at infinity”. Ergo, circles are a special case of the hyperbola; whereas in Euclidean Geometry, a circle is a special case of an ellipse. So all circles intersect each other at the circular points at infinity.

    I believe all the classical theorems of Euclidean Plane geometry can be proved in the confines of projective geometry; including the nine point circle theorem. Professor Henry Forder, who taught this at UofA stated that PG has no known useful application; it exists for its own curiosity.

    But most of our mathematics is made up to allow formal descriptions of the exact behavior of our models of the real universe. It remains for the modellers to construct their equally fictitious models, to mimic the observed behavior of the real universe; and it is in the real universe that the real Science resides; not in the mathematics. Our models are good, only to the extent that they accurately mimic the apparent (observed) behavior of the real universe.

    A 3:1 fudge factor (+/- 50% error spread); mandatory in climatism; is not a feature of real science.

  55. Eric Ellison says:

    Geraldo

    Thank you! I await #3! You need to go on the road with Lord Mockton!

    Comment Contributors: I have thoroughly enjoyed your on topic discourse.

    Anthony: THANK your for providing the forum. I spend hours here for the aware presentations and comments. The Comment/feedback mechanism of this website leaves a LOT to be desired! So much more could be accomplished with a Tree like discussion area! Wading through the linear comments with responses to requotes, past post times and names really sucks! This technology can do better!

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