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A view from the trenches, Climate Science, General Topics, Settled science?

Dispatches – 1 May 2013

This is the first in a series of articles, where occasional thoughts, that I’ve wanted to put on ‘paper’, actually end up being recorded.

It’s about 24 months since I started on the journey to resolve, at a personal level, the global warming debate. I can’t remember exactly when I took the first step or what I’d seen or heard that sparked my interest.

The one thing that quickly became apparent was that, across the Web, there was a range of views, which contradicted the ‘consensus’ view I thought held sway.

It’s been just over a month since I started this blog and I’m now beginning to wonder if I am too late to the table as the amount of recent alarmist output has been noticeable by its absence. Wherever I look, which, I must admit, is pretty much confined to ‘sceptic’ blogs, all I see are fresh articles and papers that seem to poke an ever-increasing number of holes in the cAGW (catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) hypothesis.

Not that the hypothesis was that strong to begin with. The definition of a hypothesis – according to dictionary.com is as follows;

Hypothesis

noun, plural hy·poth·e·ses [-seez].

  • 1. a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.
  • 2. a proposition assumed as a premise in an argument.
  • 3. the antecedent of a conditional proposition.
  • 4. a mere assumption or guess.

So, taking the best of these, as a supporting argument for the cAGW team, you have

  • 1. – . . . accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

The one favoured by sceptics is

  • 4. – a mere assumption or guess

Before an hypothesis can grow up and become a theory, it has to fulfil, I would have thought, at least one of the following criterion; – back to dictionary.com

Theory

[thee-uh-ree, theer-ee]
noun, plural the·o·ries.

  • 1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
    Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine.
  • 2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
    Synonyms: idea, notion, hypothesis, postulate.
    Antonyms: practice, verification, corroboration, substantiation.
  • 3. Mathematics . a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
  • 4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
  • 5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles: conflicting theories of how children best learn to read.

I have yet to read anything that remotely allows the totality of the cAGW story to fit under the heading of Theory.

I have no doubt, in my mind, that when this great movement started out there were some scientists who managed to join up a few dots and, without digging any deeper, thought they were on to some ground-breaking research. In fact, many of them had expressed concern about falling temperatures in the 1970s and were heralding a New Ice Age. Unfortunately, I am of an age where I can recall much of the hype at that time, although I wasn’t aware of the names and, without the Internet, I had no way to search for more information. Many of those same names were quick to switch and jump on the Global Warming bandwagon.

Looking back, I suspect it was the dichotomy inherent in these two opposing positions that first set the alarm bells ringing in my mind. Despite warmists pretending that panic was a non-event, the warnings of impending doom, raised then, were just the same – couched in similar apocalyptic tones – as the ones we hear now. The only difference is in which direction the thermometer is heading.

The other key point that became increasingly apparent was the number of times contrarian commenters referred to ‘the scientific method’ and how the cAGW hypothesis contradicted it. ‘Null hypothesis’ seemed another favourite used to confound alarmists on various blogs.

The main thrust of these points seems to be that if cAGW is to be presented to the world as ‘settled science’ and the evidence is ‘irrefutable’ then the whole shebang should be testable and open to critical analysis by everyone working in the field of ‘climate-related science’.

At that point, of course, we start to wonder whom, exactly, qualifies as a ‘climate scientist’? We have to consider physics, atmospherics, solar radiation, palaeontology, and a wider range of ‘ologies’ than you could hope to shake a stick at.

Where to find that elusive ‘climate scientist’? Let me know if you do, he or she must be one heck of a scientist.

This is just a sort of intro into a whole host of doubts that keep me from being a good little soldier and blindly accepting the cAGW story. There are just too many bits that don’t ring true; and that’s without starting on the personalities involved.

One thing is very clear though. The whole story has moved a long way away from any semblance of a scientific hypothesis and has moved totally into the corrupting world of politics and, thus, it means that truth, or even the search for truth, has been lost to us for the foreseeable future.
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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Dispatches – 1 May 2013

  1. The young Richard Feynman says it well in his often quoted video –

    “If it disagrees with experiment it’s wrong.”

    Posted by tckev | May 3, 2013, 12:11 am

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