Friday, August 22, 2008

2008 Is the Coldest Year of the 21st Century

Thank you for this post. I am no scientist, but I am an undergrad in a dual major in Engineering/Science (mathematics), there are certain things that really trouble me about contemporary climate science. For one, there appears to be an over reliance on climate models based on broad sweeping assumptions, and an extreme exaggeration of the capacity of any given model to produce accurate results. Increasingly, the GW science seems to be violating Poppers fundamental philosophy of scientific hypothesis: The only theory worth considering is that which can be disproven. Or rather, science is not about proving as such, it is about disproving. I want to see the falsifiability of climate change theory thoroughly discussed, but it never is, nobody can challenge the models, nobody is allowed to question the methods, nobody is allowed to offer alternative to the mainstream narrative. Its a dangerous place for science to be. More and more I see GW predictions failing the falsifiability test: hot year? Earth is warming, cold year? Earth is unstable due to warming, flood: GW, everything, everything under the sun is being attributed to GW.

The 'consensus' worries me also, moreso in fact. There is rarely consensus in science, especially when dealing with fundamentally complex, non-linear dynamical systems which are proven to be inherently chaotic. Even when a theory is sound and mature, the most important consideration is that you are making predictions by using a model, an inherently and unavoidably flawed model. It is always, always important to cite assumptions and errors when making predictions with any model. But if you question the validity of current climate modelling, you are branded a heretic, a denier, and the worst of all: a skeptic. As if being a skeptic in science is suddenly the wrong thing to do? What happened?

All scientists are skeptics, a scientist without skepticism is no scientist, he is a fool. Worse still believing that computer models are completely trustworthy is like believing your lego starship enterprise will fly you to the moon.

I am not a denier, but I am certainly skeptical. I am certainly open to hypotheses, theories, models and all manner of explanations for given data sets, observations etc. But I am deeply troubled by the way discussion and debate about something as highly chaotic and poorly understood as the climate is shut down so vigorously these days. Worse still, the politicians and economists are on board. I can't help but be just a tad aware that politicians will leap on any populist position and economists are always hungry for new derivatives markets.

2008 Is the Coldest Year of the 21st Century
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