The Myth of Settled Science

Guest post by Donald R. Baucom

A key defense of AGW and now climate change is that the science is settled.  Historically and philosophically, this statement is unsustainable.

                        Who would dare assert that we know all there is to be known?

– Galileo Galilei, Letter to Father Benedetto Castelli, 21 Dec 1613.

If you rely upon America’s mainstream media for your news about climatology, you may not have noticed that the idea of an impending global disaster caused by anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is somewhat passé.  Still, the same mantra used in efforts to silence critics of AGW is now being deployed in defense of climate change or AGW light:  The science of climate change is settled.  In reality, the assertion that any science is settled is essentially a political slogan that misrepresents the nature of science.

One of the reasons people may not have noted the shift from AGW to climate change is that the mainstream media continue to hype global warming.  Reports on the results of a recent study headed by Professor Richard Muller, a physicist from the University of California-Berkeley, illustrate the slanted manner in which global warming is all too often handled by American journalists.

Muller’s study concluded that the earth’s temperature had increased by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the last two hundred-plus years.  This conclusion was well-reported.  Less well reported is the fact that Muller was and continued to be skeptical about the role of human activities as a cause of this increase.  Furthermore, Muller noted that even if this warming is caused by human activity, there is virtually nothing the U.S. can do to abate its effects, given the growing carbon emissions produced by the expanding economies of India and China.

A major point missing from much of the coverage of Muller’s report is dissent from a member of Muller’s own study team, Professor Judith Curry, who heads the Department Of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology.  Curry believes the publicity surrounding the Muller study has mischaracterized its results by saying that this study should end skepticism about global warming.

In fact, Curry noted, the Muller study had pointed up a major anomaly for those who may still believe that the earth is warming and that this warming is caused by human use of fossil fuels: there has been no increase in the global temperature since 1998 in spite of the fact that carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is considered the major cause of global warming, has continued to increase.  This calls into question any direct cause-and-effect linkage between carbon dioxide and global warming.  This in turn suggests that the continued use of fossil fuels may not produce catastrophic results as global warming advocates like Al Gore have long proclaimed.

The absence of global warming in the past decade or so was noted as long ago as 2008 by Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  According to Lindzen, there had been “no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995.”

Lindzen and Curry are among the dissenting scientists that AGW advocates seek to silence with their “settled science” mantra.  To re-iterate, this mantra is a political slogan used by those who would use global warming to justify draconian measures to force a shift from fossil fuels to green energy.  Moreover, global warming would also be used to justify annual transfers of as much as $100 billion from developed to undeveloped nations under the guise of offsetting the effects of global warming on these lesser developed nations.

Regarding the transfer of wealth that is involved here, all doubt about the political goals of at least some climate change zealots should be removed by the November 2010 comments of Ottmar Edenhofer, a member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  In an interview published by the “Neue Zürchen Zeitung,” a Swiss German-language daily newspaper based in Zurich, Edenhofer said:  “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

The loftiness of such goals does not justify the invention of fictions to suppress opposition.  As Thomas Mann put this matter:  “In the long run, a harmful truth is better than a useful lie.”  Dissent and disagreement are crucial to the advancement of knowledge according to philosopher Karl Popper, who also noted that scientific theories can never be completely, finally verified—they can only be falsified.  And, of course, the falsification of a concept hopefully leads to the development of another, more comprehensive one.

Popper’s views are echoed in Thomas S. Kuhn’s classic study, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”  Kuhn, a physicist turned historian of science, argued convincingly that science is an open-ended process composed of a never-ending series of cycles.  For the sake of example, we may start this cycle with the establishment of a paradigm, a theoretical framework that is accepted and supported by a body of scientists.  These scientists then seek to explain a set of natural phenomena in terms of the paradigm.  In addition to explaining phenomena, the paradigm determines the questions scientists ask about these phenomena.

When a paradigm is first established, there are still problems to be solved within its context; Kuhn refers to this as the puzzle-solving phase of the scientific cycle.  The challenge of solving these puzzles is one feature of the paradigm that attracts adherents.  However, at some point, new puzzles emerge that cannot be explained within the accepted paradigm.  (Think here of the absence of an increase in global temperature in spite of a continuing increase in the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.)  These anomalies now drive the cycle into a crisis phase in which adherents to the old framework begin to think outside the confines of the paradigm.  A new theoretical framework emerges and wins supporters.  The cycle begins anew.

Science at the end of the nineteenth century illustrates what can happen when practitioners conclude that they have achieved a complete understanding of some aspect of the natural world.  According to historian Lawrence Badash, a number of scientists in the late 1800s concluded that they had developed a complete theoretical framework.  All that remained to be done was to secure more precise measurements that could be used to improve “‘physical constants to the increased accuracy represented by another decimal place.’”

Within a decade or so of such pronouncements, an entire world of new phenomena emerged.  The discovery of X-rays, radioactivity, electrons, etc., ended the era of classical physics that had begun with Sir Isaac Newton and spawned the quantum and relativity revolutions.

Lest a reader conclude that the situation in classical physics is not commensurate with today’s science, here are comments on the open-ended nature of science from two leading contemporary scientists.  According to Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous scientists of our day:  “Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis:  you can never prove it.  No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory.  On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.”  Similar views have been expressed by Freeman Dyson, a physicist who made major contributions in the field of quantum mechanics.  In his 1985 Gifford Lectures, which were later published in book form under the title “Infinite in All Directions,” Dyson wrote:  “The cutting edge of science moves rapidly.  New discoveries and new ideas often turn whole fields of science upside down within a few years.”

The insights of these two scientists would seem to be unknown to far too many advocates of AGW/climate change who seem incapable of confronting anomalies spawned by increasing knowledge of phenomena like cloud cover, sun spots, and cosmic radiation.

Finally, virtually no one seems to remember the grave warning that President Dwight Eisenhower issued concerning the undue influence of a scientific-technological elite.  While Eisenhower’s warning against the military-industrial complex is one of the most oft-quoted presidential pronouncements, few seem to remember that Eisenhower also told us in the same speech that “the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture” had been spawned by “the technological revolution during recent decades.”

Eisenhower went on to say that this revolution thrust scientists and technicians into positions of unprecedented influence.  Of this situation, Eisenhower warned:  “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy should itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

For several years now, some members of our scientific elite have been using the “science is settled” mantra in an effort to quash opposition to their position on human-induced climate change.  Science and all of us will suffer should they succeed.

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AnonyMoose

You primates might want to notice that the National Center for Science Education, an evolution proponent group, is going to start treating climate change as being as definitively proven as is evolution. I’m going to munch some yummies in the swamp while you guys figure this out.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/16/scientists-want-climate-change-young-minds/

pesadia

In my opinion, it is the mis-selling of the precautionary principle which keeps the politicians on board because it can be seen to be very logical and is used to reasure the waverers. It is being sold by advocates and lobbyists ,to NGOs and the green activists and those people have infiltrated such bodies as the IPCC.

The thing that amazes me is that this is worthwhile printing at all. It is blindingly obvious to any proper scientist. It just goes to show how the IPCC et al have distorted science.

Chris B

It can’t hurt to read the letter, or at least the paragraph from which the loose quote is taken, to get the context.
http://www.disf.org/en/documentation/03-Galileo_PBCastelli.asp
“Given this, and moreover it being obvious that two truths can never contradict each other, the task of wise interpreters is to strive to find the true meanings of scriptural passages agreeing with those physical conclusions of which we are already certain and sure from clear sensory experience or from necessary demonstrations. Furthermore, as I already said, though the Scripture was inspired by the Holy Spirit, because of the mentioned reasons many passages admit of interpretations far removed from the literal meaning, and also we cannot assert with certainty that all interpreters speak by divine inspiration; hence I should think it would be prudent not to allow anyone to oblige scriptural passages to have to maintain the truth of any physical conclusions whose contrary could ever be proved to us by the senses and demonstrative and necessary reasons. Who wants to fix a limit for the human mind?*** Who wants to assert that everything which is knowable in the world is already known?**** Because of this, it would be most advisable not to add anything beyond necessity to the articles concerning salvation and the definition of the Faith, which are firm enough that there is no danger of any valid and effective doctrine ever rising against them. If this is so, what greater disorder would result from adding them upon request by persons of whom we do not know whether they speak with celestial inspiration, and of whom also we see clearly that they are completely lacking in the intelligence needed to understand, let alone to criticize, the demonstrations by means of which the most exact sciences proceed in the confirmation of some of their conclusions?”
Ironically, Gallileo’s assertions about a fixed and immovable Sun are a good example of” settlled science” being not so settled.motionless

Owen

The Global Warming theory is not science. It has nothing to so with science, never has and never will. A bunch of radicals with a political agenda have doctored data and lied to the world about a problem that only exists in their sick, twisted, corrupt minds. The science of psychology should have a close look at these people. That’ll be about as close to science the Climate Liars will ever get.

pat

not just settled, but VERY PRECISE:
17 Jan: Courier Mail Australia: Matthew Sadler: Global warming to cut short lives
A GLOBAL temperature rise of 2C by 2050 would result in increased loss of life, a new Queensland study has found.
Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology and the CSIRO examined the “years of life lost” due to climate change, focusing on Brisbane.
“A two-degree increase in temperature in Brisbane between now and 2050 would result in an extra 381 years of life lost per year in Brisbane,” lead researcher Associate Professor Adrian Barnett, from the university’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said…
“A four-degree increase in temperature would result in an extra 3242 years of life lost per year in Brisbane.”
Interestingly, the study found that a one-degree increase would result in a decrease in the number of lives lost.
This is believed to be because the increase in heat-related years of life lost are offset by the decrease in cold-related years of life lost.
The researchers said cold-related deaths were significant, even in a city with Brisbane’s warm climate.
And many deaths could be avoided if people had better insulation in their houses…
The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/global-warming-to-cut-short-lives/story-e6freoof-1226245930928
17 Jan: Age, Australia: Reef fish at risk as carbon dioxide levels build
Researchers from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University say concentrations of CO2 are predicted to reach between 700 and 900 microatmospheres before the end of the century, interfering with the ability of the fish to hear, smell, turn and evade predators…
The team concluded that high levels of carbon dioxide stimulates a receptor in the fishes’ brains called GABA-A. The receptor’s function is reversed and some nerve signals become overexcited.
Professor Munday said 2.3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions dissolved into the ocean each year.
”We’ve now established it isn’t simply the acidification of the oceans that is causing disruption, as is the case with shellfish and plankton with chalky skeletons. But the CO2 itself is damaging the fishes’ central nervous systems.”
The fish most affected are expected to be those with high oxygen consumption…
The research has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
http://www.theage.com.au/national/reef-fish-at-risk-as-carbon-dioxide-levels-build-20120116-1q361.html
12 Feb 2010: Sydney Morning Herald: Julian Lee: TV news is not factual program, says regulator
News does not constitute a ”factual program” according to the media regulator, which is reluctant to investigate whether TV networks should disclose that banks pay them to be financial commentators in their news bulletins.
Some commercial TV networks are receiving up to $3 million a year from banks’ broking houses to appear in the news bulletins and commentate on the day’s trading…
http://www.smh.com.au/business/tv-news-is-not-factual-program-says-regulator-20100211-nv6h.html?skin=text-only

nc

Stephen hawking on climate change, man caused. “Hawking warns: We must recognize the catastrophic dangers of climate change”, which is puzzling from him. You would think he could see through the scam in no time. Where is he getting his information? —-http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/hawking-warns-we-must-recognise-the-catastrophic-dangers-of-climate-change-432585.html

paddylol

As I recall, Professor R Muller, of BEST, has never been an AGW skeptic. Moreover, He is a principal in a consulting organization that has a great deal of skin in the climate alarmism arena.
Assuming my recollection is correct, the matters noted indicate both motivation and bias that is noteworthy.

Less well reported is the fact that Muller was and continued to be skeptical about the role of human activities as a cause of this increase.

Although Muller estimates 2 in 3 odds that humans are causing global warming, “the fact that the original conclusion of Mann et al. is ‘plausible’ is damning with faint praise,” he said. “Theories are plausible; discoveries are supposed to be proven.”
http://bit.ly/xLEG6v
It’s fairly weak skepticism if you feel it necessary to lay short odds like that.

Duster

… Dissent and disagreement are crucial to the advancement of knowledge according to philosopher Karl Popper, who also noted that scientific theories can never be completely, finally verified—they can only be falsified. And, of course, the falsification of a concept hopefully leads to the development of another, more comprehensive one. …
One of the realities of all science is that humans are inherently conservative, occasionally to the their own detriment. A great deal of scientific debate – in all fields – is social rather than scientific at heart. Thus we see formation of cliques – such as the AGW clique – which, if their members can maneuver into positions of influence can effectively guide funding and “permissible” research topics for years or decades. Because of this, it is common for a “theory” to be taught for decades, even though it does not well, or potentially, at all, rather than simply say “we don’t know.”
Thus, the “geosynclinal” theory in geology was used for decades, despite that fact that it was logically untenable, failed to explain or address self-evident phenomena, and relied on physics that were nearly as convoluted as the forms used in AGW theory to amplify CO2 effects to a serious result. The theory remained in textbooks for decades until plate tectonics emerged as a viable, and evidently more complete contender. Similarly, proponents of biological and abiotic theories on the origin of petroleum continue to contend. Neither is likely a “complete” theory and both have been used “with success” to find oil fields. Each offers strengths in some manner that the other lacks. Potentially both may be right, since nothing in the current science appears to exclude that possibility.

janama

Owen – here’s an example of the political radicals you refer to:
http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=6970
“The Earth’s climate continued to change during 2011 – a year in which unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events killed people and damaged property around the world. The scientific evidence for the accelerating human influence on climate further strengthened, as it has for decades now. Yet on the policy front, once again, national leaders did little to stem the growing emissions of greenhouse gases or to help societies prepare for increasingly severe consequences of climate changes, including rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea-levels, loss of snowpack and glaciers, disappearance of Arctic sea ice, and much more.”

Braddles

I can’t help feeling that there is a bit of a straw man here. Just who is saying “the science is settled”? (There are no quotes or links offered in the post.) I don’t hear any climate scientists saying that. Among other things, this might harm their chances for funding! Maybe some politicians and journalists say that: which ones? (I do recall Bill Clinton saying “the science is solid”, which is not the same thing.)

TGSG

“Historically and philosophically, this statement is unsustainable.”
replace unsustainable with “absurd” and that’s it in a nutshell.

ThePowerofX

[Using multiple screen names violate site Policy. ~dbs, mod.]

Tom G(ologist)

In a public debate I was in a year ago with a professor from a major eastern PA research university I challenged him to relinquish all claims to further research funding and to return all unspent funds if, indeed, the science was settled as he held. I then challenged him to resign his post as professor with a clause in his resignation that his colleagues should do the same and hand the reins over to politicians. In a reiteration later in the debate, I told the audience that if the science was settled, we had no need for university scientists to tell us that they made themselves obsolete, so what is this guy doing here and why is still on the public dole?

Tony Mach

That is “Neue Züricher Zeitung (NZZ)”, not “Neue Zürchen Zeitung”.

Tony Mach

And if you already use umlauts, then it is Zürich, not Zurich.

Billy

The post states:
According to historian Lawrence Badash, a number of scientists in the late 1800s concluded that they had developed a complete theoretical framework. All that remained to be done was to secure more precise measurements that could be used to improve “‘physical constants to the increased accuracy represented by another decimal place.’”
Maybe some scientists took this position. But not the best. Many physicists, perhaps Maxwell most prominently, knew that their theories could not explain the observed specific heat of gases. Not until quantum theory was developed did the theory of specific heat match the measurements.
Billy

Encomium

If the AGW science is settled, why do they keep asking for research grants?

Let’s be fair on this settled science thing. Engineers build bridges on settled science. The theory might be wrong, but it works. (Ptolemaic astronomy worked for astrological chart predictions and for guiding travellers even after Newton.) A theory can always be superseded, and so is always wrong in this sense, but there is some degrees by which some science is more settled than others, and so can be the basis for reasonable action — whether to build bridges or mitigate climate catastrophe. If we dont grant this then we are suggesting science can never inform action, can never inform public policy. It can, and it does (eg public health policy last century).
No science is settled. We don’t need play such a big hand as this. Rather, all we can and should do is as WUWT does, and continually try to take the debate back to the basics of evidence-based science; keep saying, let’s argue the evidence.
If we are looking for reasons why the evidence debate became irrelevant 15 years ago, we could start by looking at the funding mechanisms driving this pseudo-science, and also look at the way the science has be corrupted by political drivers.

Allen

Kuhn did not echo Popper – he took apart the latter’s argument about how scientific knowledge is obtained. Kuhn was deliberate in using the word “revolution” in his work.
I think Popper would look at the state of climate science and call it “pseudoscience”.

Mike M

Tom G – Your assertion should be shouted front and center to lame stream media every time they regurgitate the ‘settled science’ meme.

Nicely put by Donald R. Baucom. But here he is preaching to the choir; every sentence has been discussed many times on WUWT. Now if he could get this essay published in The New York Times, [] that would be an accomplishment.
Of course, as Owen points out above (January 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm), the “science is settled” fiction promulgated by the Alarmists is grounded, not so much in Kuhnian paradigmatic obduracy, but in an ideological movement promulgated by radical neo-Marxists masquerading as ‘environmentalists’ and ‘greens’. This means it will take more than a “scientific revolution” to overturn it; it will take a political revolution as well. Getting the Congress to defund the IPCC and the EPA would be a good start.
/Mr Lynn

Joel Shore

It seems to me that “the science is settled” is a phrase that is probably used more often by AGW skeptics (clearly, not approvingly) than it is by AGW proponents. It is of course true that in science, all knowledge is tentative…And, yet people don’t argue that one should make policy decisions under the assumption that we are the Law of Gravity could still theoretically be overturned by new knowledge (which may sound ridiculous, but if you consider the issues of Dark Energy and of the fact that nobody has ever successfully married quantum mechanics and gravity, there truly are some unsettled issues).
The fact is that various aspects of the science are known to various degrees of certainty. The basic mechanism of the greenhouse effect and the fact that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing due to our burning of fossil fuels is, despite some arguments on this website, as settled as about anything in science can be. The value of climate sensitivity…and particularly the feedback from clouds is clearly much more uncertain, as are some of the consequences of climate change on sea level, flora, fauna, and society. However, that does not mean that nothing is known about them.
To the extent that AGW proponents do say things to the effect that “the science is settled,” what is often meant is that the weight of the evidence is sufficiently clear that it is unwise to act as if we are not facing a serious problem and that continuing to burn through all of the likely reserves of fossil fuels is probably going to cause significant disruptions. Depending on just how large the climate sensitivity turns out to be and how large the impacts from climate change turns out to be, we could in fact face significant disruptions if we don’t more drastically curtail our emissions. This is the sort of thing that is agreed to by a broad consensus of scientific organizations, be they the IPCC, the NAS or the similar bodies in other countries, the councils of the various professional societies such as APS, AMS, and AGU, etc.

Alex the skeptic

This from memory, I read it somewhere:
When Neils Bohr asked the university physics professor for his opinion on whether it was advisable for Bohr to take up physics at university, this professor replied that they know everything there is to know and advised Bohr to study some other subject. Bohr, of course went to study physics and we all know the outcome.

You probably mean anthropogenic, not anthropomorphic.
anthropomorphic: “described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes”
anthropogenic: “of, relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature”
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs, mod.]

S Basinger

You may want to correct your article… “… impending global disaster caused by anthropomorphic global warming (AGW) is somewhat passé. ”
Anthropomorphic: 1: described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes 2: ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things
Anthroprogenic: : of, relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature
[Fixed, thanks ~dbs]

Nick Luke

Below is a link to an article I found to be extremely interesting. I touches on many of the points raised, especially the wrong thinking that leads to ‘the science being settled’. If one replaces ‘medical science’ with ‘climate science’ in the article, it exactly mirrors what is so wrong with the belief system that passes for climatology today.
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/ff_causation/

Jimbo

The science is settled I tells ya. There was even a consensus among doctors as to the main cause of stomach ulcers. Why deny the settled science?????? Stop asking questions and go with the program.

5 October 2011, Guardian
A scientist whose work was so controversial he was ridiculed and asked to leave his research group has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Daniel Shechtman, 70, a researcher at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, received the award for discovering seemingly impossible crystal structures in frozen gobbets of metal that resembled the beautiful patterns seen in Islamic mosaics.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/05/nobel-prize-chemistry-work-quasicrystals

Further references:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15181187
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/05/does-this-treatment-sound-familiar/

Jeremy

Anonymoose states, “You primates might want to notice that the National Center for Science Education, an evolution proponent group, is going to start treating climate change as being as definitively proven as is evolution.”
You might want to notice that our education system is being hijacked by Eco-extremists.

TedK

Ev’rythin’s up to date in CAGW fantasy land
They’ve gone about as fur as they c’n go!
They settled the science with a climate model many fallacies high,
About as high as a model orta snow.
Ev’rythin’s like a dream in CAGW fantasy land,
It’s better than a magic lantern show!
Y’ c’n turn the grant gravy train on
Whenever you want some cash.
With ev’ry kind o’ advance fix for comfort
Ev’ry peer review is all complete.
You c’n jet all over the world
And never tie CO2 to your feet!
They’ve gone about as fur as they c’n go,
Yes sir!
They’ve gone about as fur as they c’n go!
With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein

nc says:
January 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm
Stephen hawking on climate change, man caused. “Hawking warns: We must recognize the catastrophic dangers of climate change”

It seems as though out of every celebrity scientist there sometimes emanates the words of a fool.
S. Hawking: “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark”
A. Einstein: “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”
W. Eschenbach: “keep your !@#$%^ God to yourself”.

Rob Potter

Theory is when you know everything and nothing adds up, practice is when it all adds up and no-one knows why.
(badly translated from the Norwegian)

1DandyTroll

When science is settled hell will freeze.
The worst part of that wouldn’t be that the science was at all settled, nor that hell froze, but that there was a hell to freeze, since hell is not supposed to exist, according to some, but considered to already be frozen, according to others. :p

Allen

@Joel Shore: The AGW hypothesis is false and those who believe in science see it plainly. What is also plain is that there are those who have at best bought into the advocacy “science” and at worst would lose out in real financial terms should people stop buying the advocacy “science.
Those who fall into the latter group have tried to keep the gravy train rolling by switching the hypothesis to man-made climate change in hopes that no one noticed. By trying to save the hypothesis they have made it un-falsifiable. Now everything proves the hypothesis and nothing can disprove it. This is what Popper calls “pseudoscience”, and once again those who believe in science can see it plainly.
Due the continued refutation of the claims of the alarmists, those who are not at the extremes of the debate (most notably politicians and associated policy-makers) are now ignoring it entirely. Calling this majority names like “denier” won’t bring them over to your side.

Allen

@nc: If professor Hawking had made such a statement he is merely stating the obvious. I mean look at what happened to the dinosaurs when the climate changed catastrophically.

afiziquist

Looks like Jan 12 will probably be very cold indeed see AMSU 600mb

Joel Shore says:
January 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm
It seems to me that “the science is settled” is a phrase that is probably used more often by AGW skeptics (clearly, not approvingly) than it is by AGW proponents. (paraphrasing,…… our knowledge of gravity is like our knowledge of AGW )
===========================================================
Joel, that’s a horrible analogy. The base of our knowledge of gravity doesn’t compare to AGW. While theoretical overturning of scientific knowledge is possible, that isn’t the point of contention with AGW, or more accurately, CAGW.
Here’s why: the law of gravity works. The CAGW hypothesis, (in its many forms) does not. I can drop an object of specific shape from a specific site/height and if I replicate the environment,(dependent upon variables) I will be able to tell you when it will hit the ground and at what velocity. Every time. Even if I can’t mathematically demonstrate it, by observation, all things being the same, I would still be able to tell you after one observation. If something new comes to be found or understood, it won’t change the outcome of my dropping the object. Regardless of what gets discovered or understood, I’ll still be able to tell you what is occurring when I drop an object for all practical and physical purposes.
Now, compare this to our understanding of climate science………. oh, there is none. With the exception of some meaningless knowledge as far as practical application. Yes, CO2 absorbs certain IR frequencies. Yes, the energy then gets emitted. Yes, a by product of life is CO2. This is by and large, the extent of our knowledge. The rest is supposition, superstition, theory and WAG. We have no observational data that supports CAGW. We don’t even have a testable hypothesis, much less any demonstrated predictive skill. The use of the word science attached to climate study is a misnomer. What it is; it is a type of bastardization of science mated with buggery of our maths, and the offspring is what we commonly know as climatology.

Jimbo

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein
http://www.alberteinsteinsite.com/quotes/einsteinquotes.html#general

Why the heck should I listen to such a dumb old man’s quotes? Chaotic climate science is settled; let’s overhaul the world’s entire energy sector because of the trace rise of the trace gas co2 which has lead to over a decade of lack of warming. Let’s just do it, now! Let’s make a few rich people lots more money on carbon schemes while the poor get robbed, again. You know it makes sense. Plant more trees while the biosphere greens by its lovely self. That’s the ticket!

Pat Frank

AnonyMoose, I only recently found out about that myself. I’ve sent an email to Eugenie Scott, and am in conversation with Andy Petto, the editor of NCSE Reports, that their new position on climate is both partisan and ultimately damaging. I’ve also submitted a reply to David Morrison’s defamatory article recently published in NCSE Reports, 31(5). We’ll see whether it gets published.
I’ve been a $upporter of NCSE for many years, and have actively debated the scientific nonsense that is creationism and so-called “Intelligent Design Theory;” even to publishing on it. But if NCSE persists in its present unethical and objectively indefensible position on climate science, I’ll have to cease any and all support.

corporate message

Joel Shore, check these proponents..Canada’s top 2 proponents
David Suzuki: the science has been settled since 1988 ( after Hansen ).
Elizabeth May: “science is settled”, no need to discuss that

pat

13 Jan: VIDEO: CBS: Tax dollars backing some “risky” energy projects
Solar panel maker Solyndra received a $528 million Energy Department loan in 2009 – and went bankrupt last year. The government’s risky investment strategy didn’t stop there, as a CBS News investigation has uncovered a pattern of cases of the government pouring your tax dollars into clean energy…
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57358484/tax-dollars-backing-some-risky-energy-projects/

GeoLurking

Braddles says:
“… Just who is saying “the science is settled”? (There are no quotes or links offered in the post.) I don’t hear any climate scientists saying that…”
Dunno if an actual bona-fide card carrying scientist has stated it, but examples are all over the place from adherents.
Al Gore – to House Energy committee and the Senate Environment committee.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9047642
U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/02/23/23greenwire-epa-chief-goes-toe-to-toe-with-senate-gop-over-72892.html
Maybe someone can come up with a few pseudo-scientists … such as Michael Mann if they look hard enough. Before any one takes an affront to that statement, there is absolutely no way that you can convince me that someone that produces such poor work, should be called a scientist.

Ron Richey

Joel Shore says:
” The basic mechanism of the greenhouse effect and the fact that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing due to our burning of fossil fuels is, despite some arguments on this website, as settled as about anything in science can be.”
Mr. Shore,
With our C02 level constantly rising, can you tell me when our temperature will actually start rising?
I keep visiting this web site year after year and can never get an answer to that question.
I tried looking at computer models but they never seem to be accurate.
Thank You in advance.
Ron Richey

“. . . exaggeration or distortion of scientific findings to support public opinion or a policy position is always illegitimate. Accurately reported scientific findings have a key role to play in support of public policies for the most sensible decisions about how to deal with society’s problems. Good science is the source of that knowledge.
Advocacy for particular policies that is based on good science is always legitimate. But advocacy based on twisted science and intimidation not only discredits the scientists who practice it and the scientific community in general, but more importantly it risks significant diversion of public resources from the resolution of real problems.”
source: http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv30n2/v30n2-1.pdf, a 2007 paper by Stanley W. Trimble, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

jack morrow

Thomas Jefferson said something that goes sorta like this and I won’t quote. A lie needs government backing,but the truth stands alone.
The UN and governments need your money only to enrich themselves and gain more power. They don’t do things to help no one but themselves. They usually falsify their good intentions.

Jimbo

janama
Owen – here’s an example of the political radicals you refer to:
http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=6970
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Can you please point to peer reviewed research? Thanks in advance.

Latitude

Joel Shore says:
January 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm
we could in fact face significant disruptions if we don’t more drastically curtail our emissions.
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[Phil Jones] I’m not trying to make any sort of point here, just to state that repeating an analysis with exactly the same data is normally very difficult.
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Muller’s study concluded that the earth’s temperature had increased by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the last two hundred-plus years
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According to Lindzen, there had been “no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995.”
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the Muller study had pointed up a major anomaly for those who may still believe that the earth is warming and that this warming is caused by human use of fossil fuels: there has been no increase in the global temperature since 1998 in spite of the fact that carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is considered the major cause of global warming, has continued to increase.
…30 years of global warming….and half of that time has been spent standing still……….