Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why Can't We Just Think?

UPDATE: Great minds think alike.

Now it's been fairly obvious to those of us that are skeptical of Anthropogenic Global Warming that nobody advocating AGW has been practicing real science, and the specific facts are now beginning to come forward as to just how egregious the evasion of practicing real science in terms of AGW has been. Fantastic evidence is provided today by the Science and Public Policy Institute in a report titled "United States & Global Data Integrity Issues." (Hat Tip to Tamron in LGF's spinoff links)

The report discusses the in depth research being done on a voluntary basis by Anthony Watts, which you can view for yourself at and at Watts is in the process of discrediting the actual source data that has been compiled from over 1,200 temperature stations across the United States. He's currently two-thirds of the way through cataloguing their locations and histories, and so far the vast majority of the stations have been showed to be located in spots that are excessively and abnormally hot, such as in the middle of asphalt parking lots, or next to air conditioning unit condensers. In some cases, the histories of the units show that as the concept of AGW began to be politicized, the units were actually moved from more appropriate grassy locations to these abnormally hotter locations.

We are beginning to find that, much more than being just a movement with religious overtones, that the concept of AGW has been an outright lie even from the start. The concept of GIGO (garbage-in, garbage-out) applies to any dataset analysis, no matter how large. And this is even further reinforced by Al Gore and his people today.

Timothy Birdnow points to a CCNET report today about a debate over AGW, sponsored by Christchurch's Avenues magazine, that featured Gerrit van der Lingen and Bryan Storey. The main part of Birnow's post is the following:

In Dr van der Lingen’s argument, he made the observation that Al Gore refuses to debate the points in his film, An Inconvenient Truth. In Professor Storey’s response he said, quote:

“Our professional bodies recommend that we do not publicly engage in debates over climate change as it gives a platform for the vocal minority to express their views, often scientifically incorrect or carefully selected to distort a longer term trend. This will undoubtedly be the advice that the former US Vice President Al Gore will have received, influencing his decision not to engage in televised debates.”

Now, I haven't had to do experimentation via the scientific method in a while, but I'm pretty sure I distincly remember that if you get results that are debatable, you're supposed to discuss the different options as much as possible and rethink your tests. Looking it up, it seems my recollection is correct:

The most important part in that chart is that if your hypothesis is false or only partially true, you're supposed to stop, think, and try again. It is scientifically irresponsible, immoral and unethical to manipulate your data to achieve results that "prove" your hypothesis. This puts ego in front of fact and does an extreme disservice to science and one's audience.

Bryan Storey suggests that his professional bodies, the gatherings of members of the scientific community that regulate the way these scientists practice their professions, are the ones directing them not to follow the scientific method. The scientific method is the very first thing we learn as children about how to experiment objectively. This indicates that the fallacy of AGW runs to the highest levels of the scientific community, and that politics (and the money gained therefrom) is ultimately what is driving the decisions being made. This indicates that the majority of the scientific community, and their prophet of catastrophe, Al Gore, has decided not to stop, think, and try again when they might not be on solid ground.

But when you've got a multi-million dollar carbon-trading scheme to maintain, I guess it's too much for me to expect that anyone should actually think.


  1. Speaking as a scientist, this flow chart is highly oversimplified. It's the kind of thing kids learn in third grade, along with the (flat) Bohr atom, which even Bohr said at the time was oversimplified and which was superseded in a couple of years. But, generally, third grade teachers and textbook writers aren't really up to understanding and explaining quantum mechanics, or the reality of how science actually works.

    Real science is much messier than this flow chart would indicate. For instance, my doctoral studies involved high-temperature Diels-Alder reactions of benzynes with substituted thiophenes. Other people had done similar experiments and gotten particular results, so we hypothesized that my experiments would turn out similarly. And so they did. All according to the flow chart, and very, very boring. But there was this other crap that came out, and I analyzed it, and some or the thiophenes were oligomerizing. Now, *that* was interesting! And the direction my studies actually wound up heading.

    So it's not as cut-and-dried as you'd like to make it.

    One correction is that a good scientist would not say a hypothesis is "true" or "false". They would say it is "not contradicted" or "contradicted". It may seem subtle but it's a very important distinction. For instance, no responsible modern scientist would say Newtonian physics is "true". They would say "Newtonian equations predict things just fine under *these* conditions, and under *those* conditions, you need to use quantum mechanics or relativity."

    Some scientific hypotheses are easier to test than others. For instance, Einstein's equations predict (among other things) what happens when things travel at nearly the speed of light. So you can rev up something or other so it's going really, really fast, and then check its behavior against the equations. Then you either find out that the behavior matches Einstein's equations, or you go "crap, it doesn't match!!!!" When it doesn't match, you do a bunch more work to make sure you haven't screwed something up (which is usually the case). If you haven't, you have other people replicate your work, and then you publish it, and then you go collect your Nobel prize for laying the smackdown on Einstein.

    All this is to say... a hypothesis like AGW is a lot harder to test than relativity. It is an assertion about a broad trend in an extremely chaotic system. So it's not like relativity: you can't take some contradictory data points, or some flawed or politicized experiments, or an extra-cold winter in your area, and conclusively say, "Well, AGW is just wrong." At least, you can't if you're a responsible scientist.

    However, you *can* do that if you're *not* a responsible scientist. Which is why most scientists dismiss AGW-bashers as either not scientists or not responsible, and are as likely to engage them in serious debate as they are flat-earthers.

    If you want to have some notion other than AGW taken seriously, what you need to do is form some non-AGW hypothesis, and show that the same data points fit your new hypothesis better, and that your hypothesis does a better job at predicting things in the future. Best of luck!

  2. Speaking as an engineer, I know the flow chart is highly oversimplified. But guess what. So has been the rampant, blind stumbling head-on charge into the wanton destruction of the world economy that things like carbon output limitations would bring.

    Your long-winded response about how I'm not quite right to oversimplify does nothing to change the fact that the AGW people have done nothing to actually study ANY contradictions at all.

    And the different hypothesis has already been offered by people who have taken a much longer period of time, and therefore much larger dataset into account.

    That hypothesis, which makes much more sense historically, is that increases in CO2 FOLLOW warming, and warming/cooling cycles follow sun activity.