The Scientific Method and Climate Science

Guest essay by Dr. Vincent Gray

Science is supposed to take place by the use of the “Scientific Methoddefined in the following way.

THE FREE DICTIONARY

“The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis”

OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

“a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

For most of us the scientific method is what is described in official scientific publications

Yet PB Medawar in his “Is the Scientific Paper a Fraud? http://www.albany.edu/~scifraud/data/sci_fraud_2927.html

argues that

“The scientific paper in its orthodox form does embody a totally mistaken conception, even a travesty, of the nature of scientific thought. .

The conception underlying this style of scientific writing is that scientific discovery is an inductive process. What induction implies in its cruder form is roughly speaking this: scientific discovery, or the formulation of scientific theory, starts with the unvarnished and unembroidered evidence of the senses. It starts with simple observation – simple, unbiased, unprejudiced, naive, or innocent observation – and out of this sensory evidence, embodied in the form of simple propositions or declaration of fact, generalizations will grow up and take shape, almost as if some process of crystallization or condensation were taking place

The theory underlying the inductive method cannot be sustained. Let me give three good reasons why not. In the first place, the starting point of induction, naive observation, innocent observation, is a mere philosophic fiction. There is no such thing as unprejudiced observation. Every act of observation we make is biased. What we see or otherwise sense is a function of what we have seen or sensed in the past”.

The procedure described by logicians as “inductive reasoning” may be shown diagrammatically as follows

clip_image002

In this procedure “observation” comes first. The hypothesis and then the theory arise from the observations. The validity of the theory depends on the efforts placed in its modification from future observations.

David Hume and particularly Karl Popper have asserted that this procedure is invalid. Popper says ( http://dieoff.org/page126.htm)

“By an inductive inference is here meant an inference from repeatedly observed instances to some as yet unobserved instances ,I hold with Hume that there simply is no such logical entity as an inductive inference; or, that all so-called inductive inferences are logically invalid. I agree with Hume’s opinion that induction is invalid and in no sense justified”.

So inductive reasoning is wrong. What is the alternative? An alternative logical procedure is deductive reasoning

\

\ clip_image004

Here the study begins with a proposed theory and the investigation consists of an attempt to find observations and make experiments which might confirm the theory

Medawar is equally scathing about this system

“deduction in itself is quite powerless as a method of scientific discovery – and for this simple reason: that the process of deduction as such only uncovers, brings out into the open, makes explicit, information that is already present in the axioms or premises from

which the process of deduction started. The process of deduction reveals nothing to us except what the infirmity of our own minds had so far concealed from us” So what should we do?

The alternative interpretation of the nature of the scientific process, of the nature of scientific method, is sometimes called the hypothetico-deductive interpretation and this is the view which Professor Karl Popper in the Logic of Scientific Discovery has persuaded us is the correct one.”

Popper says http://dieoff.org/page126.htm)”

“What we do use is a method of trial and the examination of error; however misleadingly this method may look like induction, its logical structure, if we examine it closely, totally differs from that of induction

I assert that scientific knowledge is essentially conjectural or hypothetical.

There can be no ultimate statements in science: there can be no statements in science which can not be tested, and therefore none which cannot in principle be refuted, by falsifying some of the conclusions which can be deduced from them.”

In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality”

And in

“Science as Falsification” http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html

“The criterion of falsifiability is a solution to this problem of demarcation, for it says that statements or systems of statements, in order to be ranked as scientific, must be capable of conflicting with possible, or conceivable, observations. “.

The methods approved by Popper can be shown diagrammatically.clip_image006

clip_image007

clip_image009

These systems use a mixture of induction and deduction and they may include testing, prediction and, validation. One or other of these procedures give the best description of the scientific method as currently practised.

CLIMATE SCIENCE

Applying these methods to study the climate run into several difficulties

Scientific observations have to be repeatable and there has to be full information on the circumstances of the observation, the apparatus and the instruments used, and the name and qualifications of the observer.

These requirements cannot be met with the climate. No observation can be repeated and all the other details change over time. Although a very large number of observations have been accumulated, .the public and even scientists are prone to form premature conclusions about “trends” based on observations made in very different circumstances on different instruments by different observers.

This means that scientific conclusions based on observations alone are unreliable. They must therefore depend crucially on validation. Validation should include successful simulation of past observations, particularly the most recent and most reliable ones, but must also include successful forecasting of future observations over the entire range that the scientific theory may be used. This is the way to test for falsifiability

With weather forecasting the crucial test is the forecast itself, and the extent to which the theory is continually modified to accommodate new information.

This procedure is a routine function of all meteorological services. Its success has made it amongst the most useful of all scientific services. Its limitations are a consequence of the current inherent difficulties of climate science.

CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE

Climate Change Science claims that any change in the climate is caused by human emissions of minor trace (“greenhouse”) gases in the atmosphere, notably carbon dioxide.

The theory is in complete contrast to the assumptions behind the climate models used by weather forecasters.

It assumes

· The climate is unchanged without the effects of greenhouse gases

· The earth is flat

· The Sun shines day and night with the same intensity

· Energy exchanges are almost all by radiation

· Energy exchanges are “balanced”

· Energy exchanges are instantaneous

· No work is done on the system.

· “Natural” climate properties are not only merely “variable” but are also negligible

There is no reason in principle why such an unlikely theory could not be correct. Planck’s Quantum theory was an example of a theory which was implausible and completely at odds with existing theories of energy transfer, which Planck himself could hardly believe. It has succeeded because it has been comprehensively validated.

The question then is, can the climate change theory be validated?

Climate Change models do not make forecasts but merely projections which depend on the plausibility of the model parameters and of the futures scenario details.

These projections have never been validated by comparison with a full range of future observations They are merely evaluated in levels of likelihood and probability by scientists with a conflict of interest, subject to the approval of the Government representatives who control the IPCC

At the beginning, most of the projections were so far into the future that confirmation was currently impossible

Over the years, however, some calculations of existing climate properties have been made and there have been limited future forecasts which can be used for limited testing

Claims of the IPCC are heavily dependent on their opinion that they can successfully show changes in mean global temperature.. Temperature is an intensive property, like mass or velocity. It can only exist where it is uniform throughout any material . The globe does not have a temperature. Also there is currently no method available to measure an average temperature of its surface. Hansen at .http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html claims that even the measurement of a single value is “:elusive”

The IPCC does not even claim to measure mean global temperature. They claim to measure “”temperature anomaly”, a deviation from some average. Yet the averages which are derived from weather station or ocean records are not representative or uniform. They are subject to positive bias from urban and land use changes, quite apart fro the supposed effects of emissions of greenhouse gases. The trend of less than one degree Celsius over 100 years is lea than a degree Celsius, . . .

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/20/surface-temperature-uncertainty-quantified/ concluded that it is impossible to measure temperature with an ordinary thermometer to much better accuracy than 1.0ºC. Weather Forecasters never deal in decimals of a degree.

Pat Frank at

http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/Frank_II_Uncertainties_fulltext.pdf

has made a thorough study based on the assumption of a genuine temperature record which supplies the following set of one standard deviation estimates.

clip_image011

This graph shows that the supposed “trend” is indistinguishable from zero,

Much more reliable temperature anomaly records have been made by weather balloons and satellites, using Microwave Sensng Units.

clip_image013

Model calculations do not agree with measured temperatures in the upper troposphere

clip_image015

CONCLUSION

The Climate Change Theory has been falsified and is therefore invalid.

About these ads

106 thoughts on “The Scientific Method and Climate Science

  1. I have been saying for quite some time that the scientific method applied to the CAGW hyothesis, as described by models, shows that nature itself, falsifies the CAGW hypothesis.

    To suggest otherwise flies in the face of the scientific method and thus is not scientific.

  2. Excellent.
    The climate change assumptions were made to fabricate the GHE to lay claim to the need to reduce CO2 production to stop climate change.

  3. So observing a phenomenon is an act of bias but having a theory without any evidence is not an act of bias.

    What a strange world some people inhabit.

  4. What a load of convoluted tosh. If the detailed, experimental observations don’t fit the predictions from theory/hypothesis then the latter is not proven or supported. It may not be disproven due to the possibilitiy of experimental error/imperfection but it just isn’t supported. Ergo CAGW is not proven nor supported. The whole denier loony toons campaign is just a sideshow. When the main act stumbles, send in the clowns, the Turneys, Lewandowskys, Hansens, Trenberths, Manns, Jones’s etc.

  5. “Climate Change Science claims that any change in the climate is caused by human emissions of minor trace (“greenhouse”) gases in the atmosphere, notably carbon dioxide.”

    I don’t think that the above is a definition of Climate Change Science, at least as I’m familiar with it. I think the proponents of AGW would tell you that instead of ‘any’ you need to specify ‘most’ or that human emmission of GHG’s are a primary driver of climate change (something I disagree with). Unfortunately using terms like ‘most’ or ‘primary driver’ make the idea virtually impossible to either falsify or prove. The best you can do, I think, is attempt to falsify the proposed ‘climate sensitivity’ that the IPCC provided at 3C. Of course, science has disproved this by an large so the IPCC moves the bar and the cycle repeats….

  6. By combining various scientific theories about various phenomena models are used to investigate scenarii under different sets of parameters.
    But models in themselves, even if using unfalsified science, are not creating new evidences, they merely help relating things together.
    To be useful, for example as decision aid, models must be validated by confronting their output (predictions) with actual observations.
    This works quite well with linearized systems like, e.g. airplanes, in non chaotic situations.
    But for an non-linear, intrisincally chaotic systems such as the climate (or better said at the plural, the climates) it is an impossible task, regardless of the hubris of those pretending to know better.

  7. The core of this paper is excellent, but I note that some people are already picking at the edges while ignoring the elephant addressed by the paper.
    Climate is a non-linear, chaotic system (with so many unmeasurable variables the effect of each of which can NEVER be gauged) it becomes an impossible task for the alchemists to pore over the entrails and foretell the future. Of course, being pseudo-scientists, doubt about the impossibility of the task has long since been replaced by hubris and (as each failed prediction occurs) the cry goes up for more resources as the retrospectively explain why the world does not end as predicted.
    It is a game these conmen will continue to play while gullible politicians ignore that they are just pretending to know better so they can centralise more power and achieve their political agenda – Agenda-21!

  8. flyingtigercomics says:
    January 21, 2014 at 3:09 am

    “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley

    But facts not observed?

  9. The scientific method and the process of methodological falsificationism discussed in this article accurately describe what is colloquially known as the “hard sciences.” Climate science belongs to the realm of the “soft sciences” which can usually be characterized as using “post hoc” analysis. Post hoc sciences include climate science, political science, economics, sociology, much of psychology, and until very recently medicine. The predictive value of post hoc sciences has always been poor (but traditionally very profitable).

    Famous proponents of the post-hoc methodology favoured by climate science include Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx.

  10. Just so there is not an obvious error that someone else can use to denigrate the post, I suggest that mass is probably an extensive property.

  11. IPCC – turkeys and Christmas – don’t expect the truth, we all know it is political not scientific.

  12. It seems that climate science wants to short circuit the scientific process and jump from proposition to theory with no intervening work. That is probably why the science is not there.

  13. Vincent Gray wrote –

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality”

    I used to read this stuff which normally occupies talentless people who excuse themselves for doing nothing worthwhile while appearing to say something substantive. It is like a football team going out with the aim of not allowing the other team to score and passing it off as an achievement. The guys in the mid 19th century started to panic when they tried to work with electromagnetic signatures but were blocked by Sir Isaac’s clockwork solar system and Newton’s rejection of a medium for radiation so they started to dwell on induction/deduction for lack of productive and creative things to do –

    http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/ilej/image1.pl?item=page&seq=3&size=1&id=bm.1861.11.x.90.553.x.593

    http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/ilej/image1.pl?item=page&seq=9&size=1&id=bm.1843.10.x.54.336.x.425

    When you work with astronomy and terrestrial sciences there is no natural restrictions in how the information flows from interpretation to speculation or from cause to effect,the difficulty is making it resonate among others who also are in the stream of productive investigations and discovery with the same pool of information.

    The ‘scientific method’ is a tyranny that doesn’t even know its own predictive/speculative roots.

  14. “Yet the averages which are derived from weather station or ocean records are not representative or uniform. They are subject to positive bias from urban and land use changes, quite apart fro the supposed effects of emissions of greenhouse gases. The trend of less than one degree Celsius over 100 years is lea than a degree Celsius, . . .”
    I think the author forgot about “man made changes” as documented by Steve Goddard here and in earlier blogs. He is quite fantastic at it and I don’t understand why nobody has sued NASA and USHCN because the evidence of “tampering” with temperatures seems to be there.

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/if-the-present-refuse-to-get-warmer-then-the-past-must-become-cooler/

    Shold “lea” be “less”?

  15. Gkell1:

    I always read your twaddle for the laughs because your posts only consist of untrue nonsense.

    But at January 21, 2014 at 5:04 am you make an untrue assertion which is not funny.

    You assert

    The ‘scientific method’ is a tyranny that doesn’t even know its own predictive/speculative roots.

    NO!
    The scientific method cannot “know” anything because it is a method and not a person, but it has enabled us to obtain modern agriculture, medicine, transport, communications, energy systems, and industries.

    Indeed, it has led to the existence of the equipment which you use to present your rubbish.

    The scientific method has demonstrated its immense worth. I leave it to you to reflect on the worth of your assertions.

    Richard

  16. En Passant says:
    January 21, 2014 at 4:10 am
    “Climate is a non-linear, chaotic system (with so many unmeasurable variables the effect of each of which can NEVER be gauged) it becomes an impossible task for the alchemists to pore over the entrails and foretell the future.”

    Weather is non-linear and chaotic; but it still might be an appendage to a larger , possibly more predictable, more long-term periodic system; solar weather; so, not a FREELY oscillating system, or more precisely, a chaotic subsystem with limited degrees of freedom.

    Meaning that long term climate predictions (if climate is the average of 30 years of weather) might become possible; think Bond events or Milankovich cycles. Such predictions mostly hinge on detection of long term natural cycles of the sun.

  17. Ahh, good, a citation to Karl Popper’s The Logic of Scientific Discovery(1959) Logik der Forschung (1934)! Popper wrote as well The Open Society and Its Enemies and The Poverty of Historicism that are also quite on point of WUWT.

    Extending his logic of ‘Scientific Discovery’, Popper damns the dialectic for driving us to these dire straits in ‘Open Society’.

  18. Gkell1 says:
    January 21, 2014 at 5:04 am
    “The guys in the mid 19th century started to panic when they tried to work with electromagnetic signatures but were blocked by Sir Isaac’s clockwork solar system and Newton’s rejection of a medium for radiation so they started to dwell on induction/deduction for lack of productive and creative things to do -”

    Well, probably Boltzmann, Weber, Gauss, Riemann etc. just didn’t get the memo, being German/Austrian. But then again, what about Kelvin, Faraday, Maxwell? They should have been “blocked” and “panicked” shouldn’t they?

  19. All scientific processes of investigation involve inspiration and I do not see it listed in the processes outlined above. You can’t initiate a postulation without first considering some observations even if those are seen with the mind’s eye. Between observations and postulation there is an inspirational leap that is akin to connecting the dots. It is not deductive and it is not näive.

    Ignoring the inspirational steps in the advancement of civilisation is the trap into which the materialist philosophers fall when they try to ‘mechanise’ the human condition.

    Logic is such a low form of thought it can be reproduced by mechanical and electronic devices. Inspiration will never emerge from a machine no matter how complex. Edison felt progress was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. All that deductive looping is mechanistic perspiration. Without inspiration there is no new content. It may appear to be so but one can only deduce information that is already latent in the hypothesis. Creating the hypothesis requires inspiration which is a non-physical human capacity. From the fact of its existence many things can be deduced.

  20. The modern scientific process lies somewhere between the inductive and deductive methods, but I think you can get pretty close to the purely inductive or deductive method and still call it a hypothetico-deductive method. How close you get to the pure methods depends on how much emphasis you have on observations (inductive) versus theory/models (deductive). Approaching the inductive end of the scale is not bad in my mind. It offers some protection from confirmation bias.

    In a way the inductive method is a good starting point. I think it’s in practice impossible to follow Newton’s idea (“hypotheses non fingo”). In reality, even if you aim for pure induction, you cannot avoid intuition which implies some kind of dedection, so you end up with a hypothetico-deductive method anyway.

  21. The major difference between the scientific method and classical logic is that the scientific method requires an experimental confirmation (or refutation) of the hypothesis. A scientific hypothesis must be able to accurately predict the outcome of an experiment. If it succeeds, then it can become a full fledged “theory”, which has been shown to be valid within the constraints of the experiment. It can never be “proven”, but it can be shown to be accurate within the experimental constraints, just as Newtonian mechanics are valid for the masses, velocities and accelerations that we typically experience in our daily lives, but Einstein showed them to not apply to at the extremes. That said, a hypothesis can be totally disproven if it fails to accurately predict the outcome of an experiment.

    As far as bias in the creation of the hypothesis, I don’t believe it matters. The credentials, identity and motivation of the hypothesizer are totally irrelevant. And peer review is irrelevant as well, outside of publish-or-perish academia.

  22. To be biased is to be. And to be human is to err. Yet bias and error do no harm if a free play of conjectures and open testing, maybe to destruction, of our conjectures is welcomed and facilitated.

    A bigot is not someone forthright and wrong but someone who, even if correct, will not seek criticism and counter-argument and dismisses it when it is provided.

  23. I’ll add also that the hypothesizer may use deduction, induction, intuition — whatever. It doesn’t matter. Hypotheses are sometimes educated guesses.

  24. When I started looking into CAGW about 10 years ago, what Dr. Grey has written was blindingly obvious to me. The way I put it was that you cannot do controlled experiments on the earth’s atmosphere. This must have been obvious to people with names like Houghton and Watson, yet the FAR was still published, making it little more than a hoax. But even in 2013 we have a scientist of the calibre of Lord Reese going out in public and telling “porkies” about CAGW.

    http://theconversation.com/astronomer-royal-on-science-environment-and-the-future-18162

    The mind boggles.

  25. richardscourtney wrote

    “The scientific method has demonstrated its immense worth. I leave it to you to reflect on the worth of your assertions.”

    Let me spell it out for you in terms everyone else may understand.

    A person who values their ability to deduce a conclusion will have no difficulty ascertaining the signature of a rotating planet as the temperature rises and falls in response to that rotation –

    http://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/dallas/hourly

    Now you have the ‘scientific method’ bunch who insist that rotations fall out of step with those temperature fluctuations within each 24 hour period –

    ” It is a fact not generally known that,owing to the difference between solar and sidereal time,the Earth rotates upon its axis once more often than there are days in the year” NASA /Harvard

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1904PA…..12..649B

    Now,you can wax lyrical about induction/deduction,the history of astronomy from antiquity to the early 20th century or the technical ins and outs of discovery but when the system you adhere to cannot track the rotation of the Earth through a simple temperature graph then you know there is a huge crisis going on somewhere else. Maybe it will dawn on more than a few people that there is a background to this modeling mania without any physical considerations whatsoever.

  26. As much as climate scientists may have come to know about climate history, they still don’t know what they don’t know. Assuming anything otherwise is foolish. This planet has been here for hundreds of millions of years and climate change has been catastrophic pretty much from the beginning of time. Mother Nature has her own scientific method and she can be a mean old be-otch demonstrating it. She doesn’t need anthropogenic assistance.

  27. “The globe does not have a temperature. Also there is currently no method available to measure an average temperature of its surface.”

    ‘Average temperature’ – lustily embraced when the readings are correct (on pause or going down), rationalization and rubbishing when they point the wrong way

  28. Ideas about the nature of the physical world can come from anywhere. To test whether they ought to be respected as “true,” you can follow whatever method or criteria you want. However, “science” provides a pretty robust method for dealing with any ideas concerning the physical world we live in.

    It does not matter whether the ideas come from dreaming up some theory, or observing something than having a guess at a theory. What matters is the following steps taken to evaluate whether this idea ought to be considered science.

    As noted, a hallmark of science is to make predictions that follow from a theory, then making the observations that are predicted – in order to see whether the prediction holds, as evidence that the theory holds.

    These “tipping point” scenarios and doomsday forecasts will never be “science” or scientific fact, since they speculate about what is in the future, and attempt to declare that this view of the future is “fact.”

    In the scientific sense, a speculation about the future cannot be a fact.
    Therefore, a speculation about man-made global warming can never be “settled science.”

    This highlights a game played by the global-warming thought-cult members: they confound the present and the future.

    To get at this, ask them: is the cataclysm, which you believe to be “settled science,” happening now, or is it yet to happen?

    If a cataclysm is in the future, it cannot be “settled science.” (As much as “science” can be settled anyway.)

    This observation aspect sets the situation so that predictions and forecasts are not scientific. They can be based on good science, but they are a matter of, at best, good logic and reason.

    This “forecast” issue also applies to hind-casting. It is very easy to find some hard-nose scientist declaring that evolution is a scientific fact. but it cannot ever be. Zebras and jellyfish came from somewhere, but it has already happened. Any explanations are after-the-fact.

    This has been duly noted by some believers in evolution. They have thus set up the task of observing evolution happening. Some declare that they have developed news species by running through many generations of one type of bacteria in differing conditions, and having two population emerge that can no longer inter-breed.

    This is as close as evolution gets, in the present day, to being “fact.”

    The theory of evolution may be well-reasoned. it may be where all of the species came from. It is a fact that there are many species. But how they came to all be so different is not a matter of scientific fact. There are great, logical theories, however. That is it: conjecture.

    We scientists do need to reflect on what science is so that we are all clear about this, and can thus spot limits and errors when someone tries to throw the “settled science” meme at us. Or at policy makers.

  29. Average temperature: my house had an average temp this morn. It was different from yesterday morn. I have no problem with the concept of an avg temp. I don’t see this issue as a reasonable line of rhetoric for arguing away the pursuit of global warming evidence.

  30. EVERYBODY–please don’t feed the troll Gkell1

    May I add he is emblematic of the quote I was considering earlier:

    “Don’t bother me with reality; what I’m looking for is a good fantasy”–author unknown.

  31. Crispin in Waterloo says:
    January 21, 2014 at 5:42 am

    All scientific processes of investigation involve inspiration and I do not see it listed in the processes outlined above. You can’t initiate a postulation without first considering some observations even if those are seen with the mind’s eye. Between observations and postulation there is an inspirational leap that is akin to connecting the dots. It is not deductive and it is not näive.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Thank you.

    Even animals can go from observation to ‘theory’ via an inspirational leap, then test that ‘theory’ and learn of their surroundings. It is quite fascinating to watch in young animals. (Some are a lot more capable of that than ‘inspirational leap’ than others.)

  32. Yes, a scientist or economist cannot control the climate or economy, cannot set or reset an initial system state, and then perform experiments to test what happens when he changes one variable, and see whether they refute his hypotheses. All we can do is seek out similar situations, and times and places when only 1 or a very few variables change noticeably, apply our models based on our hypotheses, and see whether reality agrees with our predictions. Then one has to go back to the drawing board, consider additional variables, develop new hypotheses and repeat the analyses.

    The trouble with the climate “scientists” and Freudians and neo-Keynesians, is that their hypotheses are not refutable. No matter what happens, no matter how much the results contradict their predictions, they disingenuously claim that the results support their predictions — at times by modifying and elaborating those predictions after the fact.

    “it is only in searching for refutations that science can hope to learn and to advance. It is only in considering how its various theories stand up to tests that it can distinguish between better and worse theories and so find a criterion of progress.” — Karl Raimund Popper 1962 _Conjectures and Refutations_ pg152 (It’s difficult to extract a compact, to the point quote. That would be easier if he were a Hollywood screen-writer, but then the catchy statements would likely be of much lower value.)

    One of the most interesting things, indirectly about Popper and his writings, is how energetically his infamous student works against the scientific method and to close “society”, with his interlocking web of organizations named the opposite of what they actually strive to do.

  33. Gkell1:

    Thankyou for your reply to me at January 21, 2014 at 5:52 am which I understand to say that you have reflected on the worth of your ideas and you have reached the same conclusion as everybody else; i.e. you have come to understand that your ideas are worthless waste of space on WUWT threads.

    Richard

  34. RockyRoad says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:13 am

    EVERYBODY–please don’t feed the troll Gkell1
    —-l
    This one is special. I was more thinking along the lines of: “Whatever you are smoking dude, pass!” (Not that I condone Obama’s viewpoint :)

  35. RockyRoad says: @ January 21, 2014 at 6:13 am

    EVERYBODY–please don’t feed the troll Gkell1
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You have to be able to actually follow what Gkell1 is saying to be able to feed him. He is so far out of the ball park that I have zero idea of what he is trying to say.

  36. negrum says: @ January 21, 2014 at 6:24 am
    I was thinking the same thing but I try to stay polite… well sometimes. :>)

  37. Sorry, I was called to breakfast before finishing my thoughts above, ‘Popper’.

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb warns against blind induction in particularly his The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. He also distrusts forecasters without doxastic commitment skin-in-the-game that epitomizes weather prognosticators. Taleb and collaborator Benoit Mandelbrot describe reality, the Universe, as “fractally complex” the reason induction is unreliable.

    At American Thanksgiving season, Taleb promoted his turkey metaphor. For a thousand days the farmer feeds the turkey daily, each feeding a datum in the turkey’s confidence in turkey-utopia. On the thousand and first day the turkey meets his Black Swan, the farmers axe and its highly improbable impact.

  38. Gail Combs says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:39 am:
    —-l
    Didn’t mean to be rude and I apologise if I hurt any feelings. I was joking, but it is not in good taste if true.

    I think he might not be a troll in the normal sense of the word. Maybe someone can help him?

  39. negrum says: @ January 21, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Didn’t mean to be rude and I apologise if I hurt any feelings…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You didn’t hurt my feelings at all, you expressed my thoughts. (note smiley face at end)

  40. Gail Combs says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:59 am
    —-l
    I meant his feelings :) Looking back over the posts, I feel you might have a point. It would explain why communication is so difficult.

  41. Here is the IPCC back in the day (TAR).

    3.1. Definitions and Role of Scenarios 3.1.1. Introduction
    …..There is a varied lexicon for describing future worlds under a changing climate; alternative terms often reflect differing disciplinary origins. Therefore, for the sake of consistency in this chapter, working definitions of several terms are presented in Box 3-1……

    Box 3-1. Definitions
    Projection. The term “projection” is used in two senses in this chapter. In general usage, a projection can be regarded as any description of the future and the pathway leading to it. However, a more specific interpretation was attached to the term “climate projection” throughout the Second Assessment Report (SAR) to refer to model-derived estimates of future climate.

    Forecast/Prediction. When a projection is branded “most likely,” it becomes a forecast or prediction. A forecast is often obtained by using deterministic models—possibly a set of such models—outputs of which can enable some level of confidence to be attached to projections.

    Scenario. A scenario is a coherent, internally consistent, and plausible description of a possible future state of the world (IPCC, 1994). It is not a forecast; each scenario is one alternative image of how the future can unfold. A projection may serve as the raw material for a scenario, but scenarios often require additional information (e.g., about baseline conditions). A set of scenarios often is adopted to reflect, as well as possible, the range of uncertainty in projections. Indeed, it has been argued that if probabilities can be assigned to such a range (while acknowledging that significant unquantifiable uncertainties outside the range remain), a new descriptor is required that is intermediate between scenario and forecast (Jones, 2000). Other terms that have been used as synonyms for scenario are “characterization” (cf. Section 3.8), “storyline” (cf. Section 3.2), and
    “construction.”…………..

    The IPCCs projections, predictions, scenarios and ‘most likely’ is playing word games. They are so bad at predictions they had to re-define what a prediction is. A bit like ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’.

  42. It’s funny, I use the above defined thesis to learn new games, like cards or board games and such. Thus inductive reasoning is most valuable in crafting a beginning understanding of games. First you start off watching others play, you eventually detect patterns and rules of play, then you have your first attempt based on the tentative hypotheses you’ve garnered along the way. The rest of your days playing that particular game will be based on your theory of the game. Very effective, not very scientific.

  43. Ursus Augustus – you mock scientific structure and rigour and predictably resort to name calling and labels. Indeed callow. BUT onto truly important things and getting this whole thing into perspective. The point in all this is to keep people alarmed and have them WILLING to pay taxes to be saved.

    This is all about money, control and lifestyles.

    The solution to the worlds energy situation (which is the baseline for this scare campaign) already exists.

    The known and easily accessible reserves of Thorium are enough to safely power the entire world for 18,000 years.

    The solution exists, and that alone should expose the entire Anthropogenic Global Warming issue for what it is – a deliberate distraction.

    Being deliberate, then those who are orchestrating the campaign are either plain CDF ignorant, or their motives and intent are sinister.

    And what is traditionally done to such people?
    PC

  44. bregmata says:
    January 21, 2014 at 4:23 am
    Climate science belongs to the realm of the “soft sciences” which can usually be characterized as using “post hoc” analysis.
    ================
    post hoc analysis is a hidden form of cherry picking that delivers large numbers of false positives. Rather than cherry picking the data, you change your methods until you find one that gives a positive result.

    However, this is a false positive, because it did not show up in any other of the tests. Climate science ignores this problem and publishes the false positive believing it to be a true positive.

    Take any sample, repeatedly test it and on occasion you will by chance get a false positive at the 95% confidence level. Climate science then publishes the one positive as proof, while ignoring the very many tests that are screaming it is a false positive.

    post hoc analysis is the basis for pseudo science. the method creates false positives, because it is an unrecognized form of cherry picking.

  45. Thanks Dr. Gray. This is a interesting article.
    I agree that it was the failure of the climate models on short-range scenarios/predictions that brought the card castle down. CAGW proponents should never have gone short-range, it was bound to be dangerous. But it was the primary need to be politically effective that pushed them to the cliffs.

  46. “post hoc analysis”
    Comment about ‘scientific methods’ not necessarily ‘climate science’.
    One method,IMHO, is where you, administrativly —-first observe, find the meme, then apply existing ‘effects’, submit to sample population ,report / don’t report about it , check averages, bend the trend, then run with it. Can’t be stopped once you control the variables.
    How’s that for ‘pseudo science’?
    Example of existing ‘effect’—-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_effect

    Thanks for the interesting articles and comments

  47. TheLastDemocrat says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:11 am
    Average temperature: my house had an average temp this morn. It was different from yesterday morn. I have no problem with the concept of an avg temp. I don’t see this issue as a reasonable line of rhetoric for arguing away the pursuit of global warming evidence.

    I would agree if provided with the correct method you used to calculate those average house temperatures.
    Without even a definition we cannot track correct global temperatures based on thermometers. Satellites have their definitions; we can track global temperatures based on satellites.

    When I examine the monthly records from the Met Office’s Climatic Research Unit, every month I find the past has been made a little colder and the present keeps getting warmer. The same thing happens with the records from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).
    This is easy to check by keeping the monthly graphs produced with WoodForTrees (www.woodfortrees.org).

  48. Gkell1 says:
    January 21, 2014 at 5:04 am
    RockyRoad says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:13 am
    richardscourtney says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:24 am
    negrum says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:24 am
    Gail Combs says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:29 am

    I recommend reading Paul Feyerabend’s” Against Method” and, may be, it will clarify to you what actually Gkell1 says. Unfortunately, this book is not an overnight reading; however, the references that were included in his or her post from January 21, 2014 at 5:04 am show that he or she is against any method. Am I correct, Gekell1? As a scientist, I know for sure that there is no “method”, anything goes – pretty much in unison with the excellent essay by Dr. Vincent Gray

  49. richardscourtney wrote

    “Thank you for your reply to me at January 21, 2014 at 5:52 am which I understand to say that you have reflected on the worth of your ideas and you have reached the same conclusion as everybody else; i.e. you have come to understand that your ideas are worthless waste of space on WUWT threads.”

    Suit yourselves, the so-called ‘hockeystick graph’ has certainly got plenty of mileage here however the most important one is the hour-by-hour temperature graph over a 7 day period where you can read the rotational signature of the Earth right out of the rising and falling of temperatures daily –

    http://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/los-angeles/hourly

    Then you have the ‘scientific method’ bunch who can’t handle a simple temperature graph and don’t believe that temperatures respond to rotation or that rotation is responsible for the temperature fluctuation within a 24 hour period –

    “The Earth spins on its axis about 366 and 1/4 times each year, but there are only 365 and 1/4 days per year.” NASA

    http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970714.html

    You see,the ‘global warming’ agenda is a symptom of something much bigger and is all tied in with some of the greatest insights and the lowest intellectual points in human endeavor. I have found that most can’t discuss the historical or technical issues in general or in detail and that is a great shame however when you find yourself unable to read a simple temperature graph indicative of a turning Earth then everything else will be fluff and voodoo.

  50. Excellent post, Dr. Gray. I particularly liked the section on “Climate Change Science.” The use of “climate change” to mean AGW has been one of my pet peeves, because it certainly muddies the discussion and presumes some static and controllable climate.

  51. A model is “validated” or “falsified” by comparison of the predicted to the observed relative frequencies of the outcomes of observed events in the underlying statistical population. For the current crop of climate models, there is no such population, the outcomes are undefined and there are no relative frequencies. As Vincent Gray points out in “Spinning the Climate,” replacing validation for the IPCC is “evaluation,” a process that does not require susceptibility to falsification. In an evaluation, one or more projections to global temperatures are compared to a global temperature time series. The magnitudes of the errors in the projections are revealed but not the falsity, of the model. In effect, climatologists have done an end run around logic..

  52. bregmata says:
    January 21, 2014 at 4:23 am
    “The scientific method and the process of methodological falsificationism discussed in this article accurately describe what is colloquially known as the “hard sciences.” Climate science belongs to the realm of the “soft sciences” which can usually be characterized as using “post hoc” analysis. Post hoc sciences include climate science, political science, economics, sociology, much of psychology, and until very recently medicine. The predictive value of post hoc sciences has always been poor (but traditionally very profitable). Famous proponents of the post-hoc methodology favoured by climate science include Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx.”

    This is a very good point. The core of the issue in these sciences revolves around the following.
    These were also described as “social sciences” and are all plagued by the same weaknesses: no controlled experimentation is possible/viable and a multitude of exogenous potential causal variables are involved.

  53. Alec aka Daffy Duck says:
    January 21, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Of topic but wanted some to see this, they want to “redefine El Niño”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10586686/Climate-change-will-double-El-Nino-events.html

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Why is this not surprising?

    I would think it is Ma Nature who actually defines El Niño and La Nina but that has never stopped the guys who like to redefine reality from their cushy chairs in Ivory Towers before.

    Definition of Political Conman:
    The guys who are always “Redefining’ the terms and language.

    How do you know someone is a liar, cheat, thief or worse?
    They keep changing the meaning of words.

    How do you know you country is in a world of hurt.
    The country’s leaders keep changing the meaning of words.

    Orwell nailed it with his “Ministry of Truth”

  54. ferdberple says:
    January 21, 2014 at 7:27 am

    post hoc analysis is a hidden form of cherry picking that delivers large numbers of false positives.
    ================
    This concept is beautifully illustrated in this cartoon:

    There are statistical methods to deal with the familywise error rate due to data dredging … but where’s the fun or glamour in publishing a study where the false positives have been eliminated?

  55. “A person who values their ability to deduce a conclusion”

    Gkell,

    This is some of the worst usage of the King’s English since Mrs. Malaprop, are you trying to make a fool of yourself? You certainly have, in so many ways. We all know about Leap Year, so what?

  56. Gkell1 says: @ January 21, 2014 at 8:30 am
    … I have found that most can’t discuss the historical or technical issues in general or in detail and that is a great shame however when you find yourself unable to read a simple temperature graph indicative of a turning Earth then everything else will be fluff and voodoo.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    No every one is coming at this with the same knowledge base so you have to be very clear in what you are trying to say.

    As far as “unable to read a simple temperature graph indicative of a turning Earth” Well you will find most here have nothing but contempt for Trenbreth’s Energy cartoon because of that reason. His cartoon represents a flat disk always facing the sun and not the earth.

    Also a ” simple temperature graph” completely leaves out the effects of water vapor and wind though it may capture the variation in sunlight caused by rotation.

  57. Gail Combs wrote –

    “As far as “unable to read a simple temperature graph indicative of a turning Earth” Well you will find most here have nothing but contempt for Trenbreth’s Energy cartoon because of that reason. His cartoon represents a flat disk always facing the sun and not the earth.

    Also a ” simple temperature graph” completely leaves out the effects of water vapor and wind though it may capture the variation in sunlight caused by rotation.”

    You left out the crucial point that the mainstream view asserts one extra rotation than there are days in a year so you can’t read rotation out of the hour-by hour temperature graph over a 7 day period.

    http://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/los-angeles

    ” It is a fact not generally known that,owing to the difference between solar and sidereal time,the Earth rotates upon its axis once more often than there are days in the year” NASA /Harvard

    In effect the statement says that daily temperature fluctuations don’t mesh with the planet’s rotation once in a day so I suggest you go back and forward between the graph and the statement just long enough to feel a sense of horror that something has gone badly wrong for indeed it has.

    You have to deal with your own cartoons before you hope to deal with your opposition however to explain why you ended up with an imbalance between days and rotations takes quite a lot of explaining and covers most of the historical and technical details of astronomy.

  58. Walt The Physicist says:
    January 21, 2014 at 8:24 am:
    —-l
    I differ strongly from the authority mentioned on the following statement:

    ” ..And it is of course not true that we have to follow the truth. Human life is guided by many ideas. Truth is one of them. Freedom and mental independence are others. If Truth, as conceived by some ideologists, conflicts with freedom, then we have a choice. We may abandon freedom. But we may also abandon Truth.”

    It sounds to me remarkably like a justification for lying, either to yourself or to others.

    I would prefer clarification by the person making the posts. Or yourself, if you feel that you can correctly analyze his posts and present a coherent summation. I am assuming of course, that you are not a sockpuppet.

  59. Walt The Physicist wrote

    “Unfortunately, this book is not an overnight reading; however, the references that were included in his or her post from January 21, 2014 at 5:04 am show that he or she is against any method. Am I correct, Gkell1?”

    I am a Christian so I live off the saying about putting new wine into old wine skins, in this case, 21st century innovations in imaging,graphics allied with a curiosity for historical and technical perspectives create a freewheeling atmosphere for productive and creative work. I can survey history and take notice of the great insights and innovations and also the false turns,one of which happened to be a drastic attempt to scale up experimental sciences to an astronomical scale such as the behavior of an apple and the orbital behavior of the moon hence the reference to that 19th century article –

    http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/ilej/image1.pl?item=page&seq=3&size=1&id=bm.1861.11.x.90.553.x.593

    It may be difficult for the contemporary reader to appreciate just how much of a bind those guys were in the 19th century as they were struggling against the dictate of Newton in considering a medium for solar radiation,after all,Sir Isaac was plain about what he thought about an ‘aether’.

    “The fictitious matter which is imagined as filling the whole of space is of no use for explaining the phenomena of Nature, since the motions of the planets and comets are better explained without it, by means of gravity; and it has never yet been explained how this matter accounts for gravity. The only thing which matter of this sort could do, would be to interfere with and slow down the motions of those large celestial bodies, and weaken the order of Nature; and in the microscopic pores of bodies, it would put a stop to the vibrations of their parts which their heat and all their active force consists in. Further, since matter of this sort is not only completely useless, but would actually interfere with the operations of Nature, and weaken them, there is no solid reason why we should believe in any such matter at all. Consequently, it is to be utterly rejected.” Newton Optics 1704

    In the early 20th century they dumped aether on Sir Isaac as ‘absolute space’ so lost the ability actually comprehend what Sir Isaac was doing with his modeling based on absolute/relative
    time,space and motion.

    When these recent guys found that ‘global warming’ wasn’t happening they altered the hypothesis to the intellectually suicidal ‘climate change’ just as those guys in the early 20th century exploited Newton’s voodoo instead of getting to the bottom of it. There is the ‘scientific method’ that I have come to unfortunately know so well.

  60. DirkH says:
    January 21, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Now that was a zinger! Maxwell is most likely the most overlooked genius in science. That is probably because his work on field theory is not something whose substance can be easily presented to the non-specialist.

  61. Michael Moon says:
    January 21, 2014 at 9:05 am:

    ” … This is some of the worst usage of the King’s English….”
    —-l
    English might not be this poster’s first language.

  62. Thank you Dr Gray.
    The method, what ever way you seek to label it, is a tool to counter our inherent tendencies to see a pattern and jump to conclusions.
    More importantly it survives due to its utility.
    Without a means of communication, ideas cannot be understood nor shared.
    The scientific method requires definition of terms.
    Replication of the work, without special sauce or incantation.
    Hence Feynman. The wild guess, developed tested, discarded or points to further insights.
    However The CAGW, UN IPCC has no interest in getting climate/weather science right.
    The complexity of weather was beneficial to their usurpation of the persona of science, particularly the authority granted science by the taxpayers.

    The shamen, priests and confidence men have seethed for years, a sceptical mindset limits their pickings.
    The brilliance of this pseudoscience touchy feely save the planet meme, is it cloaks itself in science without using any.
    This leaves true scientists and those of us who attempt to follow scientific advances, arguing with the fog.
    We can be as correct as is possible with current knowledge and it means nothing to the scam.
    Essentially science is important to those who come here(WUWT) but not to the cause nor the kleptocracy behind it.

  63. Great article summarizing Popper’s critique of induction. A good example of why Popper felt induction had no validity is the following. For centuries Englishmen saw only white swans, so most of them thought “all swans are white”. “All swans are probably white” might seem to be a more careful conclusion, but Popper says no, no matter how many white swans you’ve seen, this is NO REASON AT ALL to conclude even that all swans are probably white. You only have to visit Australia and see one black swan to falsify “all swans are white”. Suppose you’d said “all swans are probably white”? One black swan falsifies that hypothesis just as well.

  64. This just in from a PTB source…

    “Seems you folks are missing the big picture. Your assessment of climate science is of no consequence. It is not complicated and it is not about science. We need a global threat posed by humanity that leaves no option but to organize and unify the entire world in order to save it. That threat is man-made CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels. We have K-12 education, the universities, the media, Hollywood, politicians and governments. People in their gut feel guilty for destroying Nature. What do you have? Logic and reason? You lose; we win.” Anon

  65. I have a sympathetic ear for what Dr. Gray attempts to do in his little essay. However, the topic is so large and there are so very many points that demand substantial discussion, the essay cannot serve as more than an outline for discussion.

    For those who are interested in learning about Scientific Method in some depth and being entertained at the same time, there is an excellent popular history of science, The Clockwork Universe, by Edward Dolnick (2011, HarperCollins). He clearly explains Kepler’s Three Laws and their importance. Kepler’s Three Laws are empirical generalizations; that is, they contain no theoretical terms. Empirical generalizations are bedrock in science. The story of how he created (used his genius to invent) them from the work of earlier astronomers covers the matters of induction, deduction, and validation in science. More important, the story reveals the importance of universal generalizations (hypotheses) for explanation, prediction, and validation in science.

    Let me say very briefly that Dolnick covers Galileo’s two great contributions to science, namely, his experiments with marbles rolling down inclines, which gave us much of the laws of projectile motion, and his dogged application of scientific method as he used the newly invented telescope to confirm Kepler’s account of planetary motion. Galileo deserves credit for being the first to articulate and apply scientific method. (Galileo gave no credit to anyone but Galileo and, so, probably does not mention Kepler.)

    Dolnick explains Newton’s invention of the calculus and Newton’s equally important applications of the calculus in calculating the planetary orbits in a mathematically rigorous way. Newton’s Law of Gravitation introduces theoretical terms, gravity, but, as Newton shows, the laws can be used to deduce Kepler’s Three Laws. Voila! Kepler’s empirical hypotheses receive explanation from Newton’s theoretical hypotheses and Newton’s theoretical hypotheses receive empirical support from the empirical laws that they imply.

    The final step in the story is Newton’s Synthesis of the laws (well confirmed hypotheses) of planetary motion, taken from Kepler, and the laws of terrestrial motion (projectile motion), taken from Galileo for the most part. (Galileo did not have the math needed to complete the laws of projectile motion.) Newton explains that, given a cannon of specific proportions and a mountain of specific proportions, he could launch a cannon ball that would fall around the earth as the Moon does.

    The key to understanding science as a system of validated hypotheses that are used for explanation and prediction is the fact that hypotheses are stated as universal generalizations. They are so stated for a very important reason. A set of universally generalized statement relates all of the factual conditions that must exist to the phenomenon that holds our interest. In plain terms, Kepler’s Three Laws of planetary motion specify all the factual conditions that must exist if we are to predict and observe the phases of Venus, to use Galileo’s favorite example. (Aside from secular science, Buddhists should love this. All those fabulous paintings of the landscape emerging from the fog are based on the correct belief that the object emerges only as the conditions come together.)

    By the way, Dolnick’s book is actually about the competition between Newton and Leibniz as they struggle to get credit for inventing calculus. (Though I have the utmost respect for Leibniz’s genius, Newton’s application of calculus to physics goes beyond anything Leibniz might have achieved. Newton’s applications allowed others to understand the importance of calculus.) Dolnick’s account of Newton and Leibniz is excellent.

  66. I enjoyed this article very much. Dr Gray writes:

    Validation… must also include successful forecasting of future observations over the entire range that the scientific theory may be used.

    In other words, a theory must make repeated, accurate predictions. The problem with the AGW conjecture [not 'theory'] is that it cannot make accurate predictions. For example, there was never any prediction of the halt in global warming for the past decade and a half. If AGW was a theory, it should be able to predict just when global warming would resume.

    Until AGW can make accurate predictions, it remains only a conjecture. An opinion. The attempts to elevate AGW to the status of a Theory are intended to provide yet another Appeal to Authority for those pushing the catastrophic AGW scare. But so far, all appeals to authority in the climate debate have turned out to be logical fallacies.

    It may impress the uneducated layman when numerous professional societies are listed to ‘prove’ the existence of AGW. But honest scientists understand that such appeals never take the place of the Scientific Method: there is still no measurable, testable scientific evidence showing any “human fingerprint” in global warming. In the climate debate, Occam’s Razor becomes Occam’s Chainsaw: natural climate variability fully explains all current observations. There is no need to add an extraneous variable, such as CO2, to explain the minor ebb and flow in global temperatures.

    Until and unless scientific evidence to the contrary is produced, AGW remains only a conjecture. AGW may in fact exist. But if it does, it is such a minuscule forcing that it can, and should be, completely disregarded when discusing national and international Policy.

  67. CONCLUSION

    The Climate Change Theory has been falsified and is therefore invalid.

    I respectfully disagree with your conclusion, Dr. Gray. What appears to have been falsified and proven invalid are the Climate Change MODELs and the theories upon which they are based, not the accepted fact that the climate changes. Fro example it now appears that the CO2 model doesn’t work, but still no one knows why the climate changes. The PDO is a likely suspect, but the reasons for an approximately 27 year cycle are unknown – yet it greatly affects the climate.

    So I think you need to make a minor change to your conclusion as follows:

    The Climate Change Theory Models have been falsified and are therefore invalid.

    Thank you for a most interesting analysis! Much research remains!

  68. negrum says:
    January 21, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Concept of “Truth” is very different in science and in our ordinary life. My understanding of what Feyerabend is saying is that the concept of “Truth” in physical sciences can be perverted serving to oppress different opinions. The history of science is full of examples and currently some climate scientists, some string theorists, some nonlinear optics scientists, and so on, are trying same old trick of using “True” science to suppress “dissidents”.
    Now regarding what Gekkel1 says: this rigid application of “scientific method” and judging the “truth” is not new and actually is not such a big deal and, for sure, is not a reason for developing “a chip on a shoulder” attitude becoming somewhat combative.

  69. John Robertson.

    The models have not been falsified. models are never falisified. even Popper knew this.

    Suppose I have a model, undertand a model is just a collection of inter related facts and equations

    A = B+C
    C = D + I
    D = .9y * 7x
    I = z^3
    y = 42
    x= 35
    z= 15

    and so forth.. so we have a series of inputs and equations tying it all together

    in the end I calculate that Temperature = 15.

    Now I check the temperature. it’s 12

    The model is wrong. what do we know? really know?

    1. My observation was wrong, repeat the experiment
    2. my inputs were wrong, check them and re run.
    3. one of the statements in the model or more may be wrong
    4. I may have missing inputs or statements

    The issue is we cannot know which until we look further.

    We dont falsified ‘the models” there are 43 of them. In the first place they should not be averaged, so if the average is wrong that tells you nothing about individual models.

    you want to know which ones are better and which ones are worse

    And when you find the better ones, you want to know what parts to keep and what parts to improve.

    In short, the models, any or all, that dont match reality tells you nothing about what to keep and what to improve and what to throw away.

    In other news..

    is this “science”

    http://io9.com/what-caused-a-10-year-winter-starting-in-536-1505213873?utm_campaign=socialflow_io9_facebook&utm_source=io9_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

  70. Thank you, @dbstealey. Your observations are cogent.
    I became interested in science some 60 years ago, reading an otherwise untouched book in my high school library. The revolutionary idea was simple: where is the authority? Does some earlier writing govern natural philosophy, or can earlier writing be falsified by experiment? You must put yourself into the mindset of the philosopher of the Middle Ages, running everything through the four causes and the four elements, to grasp the revolution. The Renaissance was as revolutionary in its time as was the Greek philosophical school, which overturned the notion of all forces being controlled by capricious gods.
    Consider Galileo. He had an authority, Aristotle, who described how things move through the air. Aristotle was wrong. But not wrong based on logic. Wrong based on what actually happens.
    So who do you believe? The Authority? Or the experiment? The same was true with Maxwell. His equations led to the conclusion that pushing an alternating current through a wire would resujlt in less energy coming out the other end. Where did it go? So the question: can energy be destroyed, or does the energy change its form? Thus radio was born. I am simplifying greatly here, I know that. The same is true with Pasteur and the spontaneous generation of life, and Semmelweiss and hand washing. Who are you going to believe, me our your lying eyes?
    Today we have ancient authorities who tell us that carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere will cause the temperature to rise. Alas. 1) the ice cores tell a different story. 2) the physics tells a different story. What, by the way, are we going to do when the Sun goes quiescent? Freeze?
    Better get more global warming quick, as the snow piles up outside my window!
    If we can’t have the data used to produce the hockey stick in the first place, then there is simply no science involved in the first place.

  71. CONCLUSION
    The Climate Change Theory has been falsified and is therefore invalid.

    I’m not sure this is true. I think it’s probably ok to conclude that models that predict high sensitivity (e.g. 3 deg per 2xCO2) may be in error but current observations still support warming of around 1 deg per 2xCO2. It’s the magnitude of the warming rather than the basic theory which is currently in question.

  72. Walt The Physicist says:
    January 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

    ” … some climate scientists, some string theorists, some nonlinear optics scientists, and so on, are trying same old trick of using “True” science to suppress “dissidents”. …”
    —-l
    I think that this is the main point of our disagreement. I hold that the “climate scientists” seem to have done no “true” science at all and used social mechanisms to ensure that their version of the truth be the only one heard. I see the problem as being not with the scientific method they followed, but rather with the lack of it, as well as contributing social factors.

    Some of Feyerabend’s ideas are interesting, but his solution of “anything goes attitude towards methodology” seems to me to be worse than the problem. From what I can see, his views on the “alternative sciences” (such as astrology) disqualify him as a competent authority on the scientific method or its shortcomings.

    If you can define clearly and succintly what you understand under “scientific method”, I might be able to respond more to the point. What, for instance, are your views on the falsification/testing of theories as a part of the scientific method? Do you feel that it is of any use?

  73. John Peter says:
    January 21, 2014 at 5:20 am
    I think the author forgot about “man made changes” as documented by Steve Goddard here and in earlier blogs. He is quite fantastic at it and I don’t understand why nobody has sued NASA and USHCN because the evidence of “tampering” with temperatures seems to be there.

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/if-the-present-refuse-to-get-warmer-then-the-past-must-become-cooler/

    Indeed, the data tampering pattern is missing in the analysis – adjust the data so long until it confesses:

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/hansens-data-tampering-cleared-the-path-for-mikeys-fake-hockey-stick/

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/uhi-made-simple/

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/ushcn-v2-tobs-adjustment-is-double-what-it-is-supposed-to-be/

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/just-hit-the-noaa-motherlode/

    http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/original-temperatures-summary-279.php

    A graph who is changing from version to version to look more and more like the models and further and further away from the raw data.
    This part of the “science” leaves an incredible bad taste.
    One can simply look at the data and foresee future adjustments for past temperatures.

  74. This new way of thinking appears to exist for the simple need to expedite the use of science to drive policy within one’s lifetime, and for fund raising. All you need to start both balls rolling is a new theory – one which happens not to be based on observation. Very creative. It is obvious too that it is intended for scientists who are bad at science.

  75. Great article, but once again misses the greater point. Climate Change isn’t a scientific issue at all, but a religious (group psychology) one. The motif that the sea levels will rise and vile weather will ensue due to mankind’s transgression against the Divine (in this case Mother Earth) unless repentance is offered is a timeless religious narrative that exists in most folklore and religious mythologies. The power-lusting elite have once again seized upon human religious instincts to dupe and impoverish the masses, only now days it is not the illiterate they exploit, but the scientifically illiterate as this article points out. Science has been hijacked and misconstrued to become the Earth Worshipers holy authoritative Scripture!

    The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded…

  76. Steven Mosher,

    Thank you for the your explanation on whether or not models (climate, etc.) can be falsified.

    So I’m still skeptical of Climate Change Theory being falsified. Of course it also depends on who’s Climate Change Theory we are talking about…

    I do think that while climate change (ask the Mayans) is a given, the principle drivers for it are simply unpredictable (PDO not withstanding) or unknown as the current hypothesis (theory) of CO2 concentration being the primary influence appear to have failed to deal with the last 17 odd years…not to mention the missing hot spot in the troposphere – which, as I recall, was supposed to verify the warming influence of CO2 years ago. However that missing proof appears to be forgotten by the very people who put it forward.

  77. All of what is written on my favorite subject of the scientific method above leave me little to contribute tonight.

    except this…

    It is a line in the Christian Bale Movie “AMERICAN HUSTLE”

    The two main character’s refer to a microwave oven as “Science Oven”

    I saw it and Al Gore came to my mind.

  78. The first half of the post is pretty good. Many people naively think there is a “scientific method” as taught in many high school classes (as outlined in the first figure). Dr Gray does a fine job showing that is if far too simplistic to describe the way ‘real science’ actually proceeds. This section is interesting (although nothing there is particularly ‘new’).

    But unfortunately the middle of the paper makes some rather wild, unsupported (and incorrect) claims.

    “Climate Change Science claims that any change in the climate is caused by human emissions of minor trace (“greenhouse”) gases in the atmosphere, notably carbon dioxide.”

    No. Science recognizes that many factors affect the climate over varying time frames, including …
    * earth’s orbit
    * the sun
    * volcanoes
    * continental drift
    * land use changes

    Science merely claims that SOME change will arise as a result of changes in the CO2 that affect the energy balance. (Unless we are defining some new idea called “climate change science”, in which case I suppose you can give your newly invented any properties you like.)

    It [Climate Change Science] assumes
    · The climate is unchanged without the effects of greenhouse gases
    · The earth is flat
    · The Sun shines day and night with the same intensity
    · Energy exchanges are almost all by radiation
    · Energy exchanges are “balanced”
    · Energy exchanges are instantaneous
    · No work is done on the system.
    · “Natural” climate properties are not only merely “variable” but are also negligible

    Again, this is simply false. Sure, some simplified presentations have pictures that might lead the uninformed to believe that eg Trenbreth’s energy balance diagram is a state-of-the-art climate model, but no ‘serious’ climate model makes the sorts of simplifications presented in this list.

    Toward the end, things get much better again. The data DOES have a lot of noise, which suggests more careful measurements & analysis are needed. The models DO fail to predict recent ‘pause’, showing that the models are missing something important.

  79. @Tim Folkerts 5:42
    Not the Team IPCC TM Science.
    Real science absolutely, hence the rise of the sceptical blogs.
    The presumed authoritarian science, as accepted by my (Canadian) government, is the IPCC drivel, which has spawned policy and regulation all focussing on CO2.
    Magic gas mitigation is the official policy citing the IPCC as the supporting science.
    Climate change science is currently as useful as Environment Canada’s SCience.
    Neither of which appears to comply with the scientific method.

  80. Tim Folkerts says:
    January 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    No. Science recognizes that many factors affect the climate over varying time frames, including …
    * earth’s orbit
    * the sun
    * volcanoes
    * continental drift
    * land use changes

    Science merely claims that SOME change will arise as a result of changes in the CO2 that affect the energy balance. (Unless we are defining some new idea called “climate change science”, in which case I suppose you can give your newly invented any properties you like.)

    It [Climate Change Science] assumes
    · The climate is unchanged without the effects of greenhouse gases
    · The earth is flat
    · The Sun shines day and night with the same intensity
    · Energy exchanges are almost all by radiation
    · Energy exchanges are “balanced”
    · Energy exchanges are instantaneous
    · No work is done on the system.
    · “Natural” climate properties are not only merely “variable” but are also negligible

    Again, this is simply false. Sure, some simplified presentations have pictures that might lead the uninformed to believe that eg Trenbreth’s energy balance diagram is a state-of-the-art climate model, but no ‘serious’ climate model makes the sorts of simplifications presented in this list.

    OK, Tim. Prove it.

    For the past 20+ years (since the mid-1990 eruption of Pinatubo), there have been NO substantial volcanic eruptions, earth’s atmosphere has been steadily clearing worldwide, and there have been NO claimed changes in the sun’s intensity (per the recognized solar “experts”) and certainly, the earth’s orbit has not changed. Therefore, you have the “perfect” test case for “your” climate models.

    Therefore, show us ONE climate global circulation model output on a spherical earth plot for the months of March, June, September, and December at the end of 20 years: Show the entire earth’s surface temperatures on a degree latitude x degree longitude basis with all oceans, land areas, land ice, and final sea ice displayed. You may add mountains and deserts as fixed entities – if “any” GCM actually do process such trivial features.

    Oh, by the way, make sure that model runs for 18-20 years, displays 18 years of NO increase in surface average temperature, a steady decrease in the Arctic sea ice over the entire period, AND a record-breaking all time Antarctic sea ice extent. Now remember, all this after 18 years of steadily increasing CO2.

    So all you will need to show is the initial conditions and final conditions of ONE model run on a spherical earth plot that is actually correct over one 20 year period.

    That’s all. Just one model run. Should be a piece of cake. Ought to to be able to produce that display in minutes since your 23 some-odd GCM’s have run tens of thousands of computer runs over the past 30 years, right?

    Then again, if they don’t or can’t produce such an easy output, maybe they really are worth only what goes in? Prejudiced garbage.

  81. TheLastDemocrat says:
    January 21, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Average temperature: my house had an average temp this morn. It was different from yesterday morn. I have no problem with the concept of an avg temp. I don’t see this issue as a reasonable line of rhetoric for arguing away the pursuit of global warming evidence.

    You aren’t paying attention.

    Averaging different temperature readings at one location over time is fine, as far as it goes. But do you really think that averaging the temp at your house, my house, the South Pole, the North Pole, Death Valley, London, the middle of a rain forest, etc, all into one is physically meaningful?

  82. Thanks for including my graphic on the uncertainty in global air temperatures, Vincent. Those confidence intervals are from the systematic error of modern calibrated MMTS temperature sensors, and so represent a lower limit of uncertainty of the 1850 – 2000 record.

    Your linked paper is the second of two. If anyone wants to see in detail where those CIs came from, the first paper is freely available here (870 MB pdf).

    I have most of the work done for two more papers along that line, and so far don’t see the CI from systematic error getting any smaller. The surface air temperature anomaly trend since 1850 could well include a large amount systematic error drift, as sensors changed, moved, improved, and were added or removed.

    I’ve been working on climate models, too, and presented a poster at the Fall AGU meeting in San Francisco, last December. The title is, “Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Air Temperature Projections.”

    I’ve developed a way to propagate GCM systematic error through their temperature projections, and can now demonstrate they have no predictive value whatever. If you or anyone are interested, the poster can be downloaded here (2.9 MB pdf).

    ["CI" is "Confidence Interval" ? Mod]

  83. Steven Mosher (Jan. 21, 2014 at 12:32 pm):

    When you conclude that “models are never falsified” you are guilty of drawing a conclusion from an equivocation on the polysemic term “model.” To draw a conclusion from an equivocation is logically improper. This shortcoming of your argument can be eliminated through disambiguation of the term “model.” Under disambiguation that is pertinent to governmental policy making, a model is of the type that I’ll call “a model-1″ or of the type that I’ll call “a model-2″ but not of both types.

    A model-1 is insusceptible to being falsified or validated; however, it is susceptible to being evaluated. A model-1 conveys no information to a maker of governmental policy on the outcomes from his or her policy decisions. Thus, a model-1 is unsuited to the task of making policy.

    A model-2 is susceptible to being falsified and validated; however, it is insusceptible to being evaluated. A model-2 conveys information to a maker of governmental policy on the outcomes from his or her policy decisions. Thus, a model-2 is essential to the task of making policy.

    Each of the climate models referenced by AR4 is a model-1. The apparent pertinence of the IPCC climate models of AR4 to policy making is a product of the fallacy of drawing an improper conclusion from an equivocation of the type that is illustrated by your post. Further information on this topic is available in the peer-reviewed article at http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7923 .

  84. Climate Science is not the only controversial major section of science which makes fast and light of the scientific method and reason. The presumption of certain other scientific theories and using any method or invention necessary to support that is common. Too much of science is allegiance to preconceived ideas at any cost rather than going wherever the facts and evidence lead.

  85. I don’t think you can say that a ‘theory’ has been falsified if the basis for asserting that falsification is saying that the ability of ‘scientists’ to develop robust and sensible computer models is fatally flawed.

    I’m not a believer in CAGW, but the reason the models fail is that they do not model several key physical processes properly, rather than the theory is wrong.

    I am of the opinion that the theory is wrong, but what has been falsified is that conclusions drawn on the basis of current computer models should carry any weight whatsoever.

    The next question is whether it is POSSIBLE to develop effective computer models for climate change. If the answer to that is NO, then politicians should cease providing funds to continue ‘developing’ them.

  86. What is the meaning of this sentence, or fragment: The trend of less than one degree Celsius over 100 years is lea than a degree Celsius, . . .
    Sounds like some slightly misspelled tautology.

  87. Jeff Alberts says:
    January 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Averaging different temperature readings at one location over time is fine, as far as it goes. But do you really think that averaging the temp at your house, my house, the South Pole, the North Pole, Death Valley, London, the middle of a rain forest, etc, all into one is physically meaningful?

    Simply consider sites with different RH; they may have identical temperatures and vastly different heat content per m^3. Two such sites with different temperatures certainly would not settle on the arithmetic average if their air volumes were mixed; the higher RH one would be more heavily “weighted”, and dominate to some degree (so to speak). That’s before even considering the T^4 calculation.

  88. negrum says:
    January 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I agree with what you say “that the “climate scientists” seem to have done no “true” science at all and used social mechanisms to ensure that their version of the truth be the only one heard”. These fellows suppressed different opinions claiming that their science is “true science”. Perhaps, one of the steps toward getting rid of such intellectual tyranny that, is wide spread in whole academia these days, is to get rid of notion of “truth” in science. All our knowledge is approximation, more or less accurate, and only time “falsification” shows the accuracy and area of applicability of any theoretical model. Near-term falsification (experimental, gedanken or any other) is highly restricted as it is subject to human imperfections such as lure of tenure, pride, stupidity, etc. This presents quite a challenge for government funding agencies which have to choose “better” research proposal – hence all this “political hoopla” that we observe.

  89. RACookPE1978 says: January 21, 2014 at 7:06 pm …

    I think you entirely missed my point. I never claimed the the models were good (or bad, for that matter). I merely stated that Dr Gray gives many wrong reasons for the models to be wrong.
    * Climate models do NOT claim the earth is flat.
    * Climate models do NOT claim the sun shines 24/7
    * Climate models do NOT focus solely on radiation
    * …

    There are plenty of reasons to question the models and their outputs, but these are not the right reasons to question the models.

  90. Dr Gray has written a number of paragraphs with which I fully agree, though he has written more eloquently than I can. There are a few parts with which I disagree mildly, but they are not important.
    It is important to place “climate science” in context with the descriptions and definitions of the scientific method. However, there is a danger – and that danger is that climate science cannot be classed as a science. That is a possible logical deduction from Dr Gray’s introduction.
    Personally, I don’t regard some aspects of climate science as practised to be proper science and other parts are simply poor science. But we’ll put that aside for now.
    The danger is that climate scientists seem to be filled with self-importance to the extent that they would create a new form of science, with its own rules, and use that as a framework for conduct that does not satisfy the pure, hard scientist. There are examples of this happening already, but they are subtle and open to interpretation as to what they are really doing. For example, data dredging seems common in the climate world, but it is not unique to that world and they did not invent it. The creation of novel statistical methods a la hockey stick is perhaps a better example.
    If “climate science” is dissociated from regular science, lax standards of proof and achievement could be justified because of new internal rules. There are not many policy makers who would discern or understand the subtle shift.
    I think it is wishful thinking to conclude as some have, that climate change has been falsified. There are so many aspects to it that they cannot all be lumped together and given an overall fail. Some of the work is actually rather good science, the type of work to which I’d be proud to add my name as an author.
    There is no doubt that climate is changing. There is some doubt whether this is natural or man-made. It is possible that AGW is correct in whole or in part, but hard proof is difficult. There does not seem to be a grand unified theory that explains the bulk of observation and departure from the expected (if the expected exists). Faced with these difficulties, I think it is reasonable to continue on the present course with elements such as repeated reminders that there is no accepted unified theory, of auditing the work of others and commenting where there are important lapses from good science and so on.
    In the final analysis, which will be long after I have departed, the climate itself will provide some of the answers that we grope for today. In the meantime, keep up the quality control work and its distribution – more of the same, I guess.

  91. Pat Frank,
    Greetings again. I can recommend strongly that people here read and study and re-read Pat’s work.
    The dominant reason for my recommendation seems to be that in both our careers we encountered data whose errors needed to be calculated in certain formalised ways. Pat’s way is just like the way I was raised on. You come to prefer what is familiar to you when it has consistently delivered the goods.

  92. Thanks, Goff, really Ive just been applying what I learned in Analytical Chemistry and a really great Instrumental Analysis lab I took as an undergraduate, lo, those many years ago. You probably more than anyone else here, knows what that means.

    Anyway, as an experimental scientist, doing mostly spectroscopy, I have to sweat instrumental and model error all the time. You know how it is. It really frosts me to see the elementary negligence of consensus climate scientists, ignoring the uncertainty inherent in their methods and measurements. But then, if they paid attention to details, how’d they make all those airy grand pronouncements?

    It seems likely, by the way, that E&E will publish a manuscript presently under final review discussing that negligence in some detail. The title is, “Negligence, Non-science, and Consensus Climatology.”

  93. Scientific American, formerly my favorite science magazine, has apparently decided that subjecting theories to falsification is not really all that necessary.

    Especially since climate models are created by someone imagining how climate SHOULD work, and so it’s a real burden to ask the models to predict the past. Can’t you just take the models as Capital-S Science without that pesky “is it correct” judgement.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2014/01/24/falsification-is-a-many-splendored-thing/

Comments are closed.