Thursday, February 02, 2012

"Scientifically Proven"

While it is heartening to see more and more AGW skeptics crop up, we really need to make sure we understand the issues and where the Chicken Littles have it wrong.  

Saw a post on facebook on a conservative page saying:  "it has been scientifically proven that we are not suffering from global warming".

Well, no, it hasn't.  And except for the word "suffering", that statement is just flat out incorrect.   Nothing of the sort has been "scientifically proven", just as it hasn't been "scientifically proven" that there has been global warming, or especially that we've had anything to do with it if it has.

The data says that we've warmed slightly in the last 150 years.   Of course, even much of the data is speculative and/or not "scientifically" controlled measurement.   The "warming" has been so little it could be a figment of our data.  As a matter of fact, what climategate has shown us, there is a bias in the AGW community toward warmer data, and "corrections" that make the data "warmer" -- on top of the fact that  much of the data is speculative and/or not "scientifically" controlled measurement.

It's no secret that I am a strong skeptic of Global Warming, but people on our side make the same mistake they do when we say "it has been scientifically proven that we are not suffering from global warming". The statement is easily attacked and debunked and it has little to do with the issue. There is general agreement that the Earth did warm some over the last 150 or so years, although it cooled a bit in the middle of that ... but over all, yeah. Looks like we're half a degree warmer.  And that means ...????

"Suffering"? That's a loaded word. Are we really "suffering"? What negative effects have we seen? What positive effects have we seen? Most of the negative "effectcs" are, in fact, speculation and predicition, and most of those are highly subjective as to whether or not they are good or bad.

The real issue is did we have anything significant to do with it, and is there anything we can do about it? The actual data seems to say "no", and "no". (And the third issue would be should we do anything about it if we could?) The computer models which are built with assumptions that CO2 causes global warming and will induce a positive enhancement and feedback loop with water vapor are of course going to show that the earth will heat up, because the assumptions are built into the models. The data does not back the models -- and the Chicken Little's know it, as evidenced by the Climategate Communiques.

The earth's climate changes. It always has. It always will. It's not some delicate system set on a thermostat where it's "supposed" to be. It does what it does. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. And we get to judge "good" or "bad" from our own perspective.


Southern Man said...

I teach a fair amount of gen ed science (meaning that I'm the only science these kids get in their entire college career) and I spend a good deal of time explaining what science is, and what it isn't, and what it can and can't do. "Scientifically proven" gets it's own little mini lecture.

philmon said...

Excellent! If only more adults knew what "science" is and what it isn't.

Maybe more kids will with teachers like you around. And they will grow up to be adults :-) Hopefully.

You know, if AGW doesn't drown them all and/or freeze them out in one day like the movies show. :-D

babs said...

well wouldn't have anything against a bit of that global warming here in Ireland, It's freezing as hell at the moment even though they say it was the warmest january in last couple of years :/

philmon said...

Heh. Sounds like this fun little video would be right up your alley then. :-)

Anonymous said...

If you believed the earth was round would you accept being described as a "skeptic" by the flat earth society? The Left elevates themselves and pigeonholes others with the calculated abuse of language.

I have no skepticism whatever regarding the truth of global warming allegations.