Is Global Warming A Hoax?

It’s just a tad harder to update this blog with anything meaningful during the yearly UN Climate Hugfest (aka Cancun – COP16): simply put, the unbearable nakedness of climate change is being broadcast right now on each and every channel (follow Real Science for a daily feast of the stupidest statements Cancun has seen outside drunken Spring Breaks).

Let me clarify then, in case anybody cares apart from my 23rd century graduate student readers preparing dissertations on bright relatively bright overestimated talkative bloggers from the early 21st century, what my thoughts are about conspiracy theories of the skeptical variety, aka “global warming is a hoax“.

Simply put, I am mildly annoyed by those claims.

I find all “hoax” and “fraud” discussions distracting if not completely beside the point.  Yes, we face the overwhelming support esp. by the Scientific Establishment of a still-infant idea such as AGW, that despite being as yet impossible to falsify is presented to the public as a highly-certain prediction of impending catastrophes unless we renounce our liberties and go back to live in the caves we came from. Or maybe up the trees.

And yet, following Ockham’s razor, there is no need to imply a “hoax” or “fraud” when good old “scientific dogma” can be at play. Many, many, many people including scientists possess the innate ability/compulsion to follow the crowd, even when something as objective as science is involved.

My favorite example for that is the dogma against preCambrian complex life, that lasted 93 years in the face of overwhelming evidence. That dogma ended only when a suitable authority was open-minded enough to accept in 1959 what the rocks had been screaming since 1868.

In total there had been three previous attempts at getting the fossils to speak for themselves, but nobody was listening. In hindsight, one might say there were plenty of attempts to falsify information (patently clear animal body traces passed as mineral formations), and at least one case of corruption of the peer review process (Nature magazine refusing to publish Sprigg’s letter, only to accept Glaessner’s, with the only difference being Glaessner’s fame).

Yet all that, it was done in perfectly good faith by people that should have known otherwise, but couldn’t. And one might accept a falsehood for the simple fact that one has to accept that falsehood, because one doesn’t realize it’s a falsehood. There’s no need to invoke fraud in there either.

People’s instinctive refusal to rely on their own judgement, “passing the buck” to a Higher Authority and thereby having a much easier life, will suffice. See Revkin’s support for Skeptical Science as a glaring example of this “slave brain” attitude.

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  1. Shooter
    2012/02/20 at 23:26

    Don’t forget the author of that blog also believes we are overpopulating and that humans are viruses. I don’t think he realizes that the world’s population is supposed to peak at 8 billion, not 9. His claims on science are weakened by the real evidence.

  2. 2010/12/02 at 10:59

    It’s worrying that there is so much appeal to models these days in climatology. Granted it’s rather difficult to put the earth in a lab and do experiments on it. But it is even more difficult to put the solar system and the galaxy into the laboratory, and from that discipline we have the classic example of the geocentric Ptolemaic model which deceived observers for centuries. Yes, by constant ad hoc and post hoc inventiveness and tinkering making the model more and more complex it was possible to convince/deceive everyone that astronomers had a handle on what was going on. It wasn’t a hoax or a fraud though, but there was a huge amount of dogma, appeal to authority and suppression of sceptical voices, as well as suppression of contrary evidence at times. It’s a classic case of how presuppositions can produce models that are completely wrong about reality, even though they may appear to fit some of the data and may have some ‘instrumental’ use (for astrology, for instance), and I have no doubt that this is the case with climate models, be they ever so complicated and ‘orthodox’. Climate models are in no sense ‘robust’: a tiny fact about water vapour (and many other factors) that has been overlooked, suppressed or mistaken could show that all the models are a complete heap of junk, just like the Ptolemaic system was.

  3. geoffchambers
    2010/12/01 at 17:56

    Many thanks to Howard Bailey for the comment. This goes to the top of my list of ideas to explore.
    The Precambrian fossils were of urgent interest to a few dozen palaeontologists and had no economic or social implications for the rest of the world. Whether the truth prevailed in a decade, a century, or never, therefore depended on the psychology of a tiny number of players.
    (I’ve been simlarly fascinated by the strong evidence for Halston Arp’s “no red-shift” astronomy, which rids us of the big bang, black holes and dark matter at a stroke. Likewise for a short Egyptian chronology, which eliminates dark ages and a lot of mystic speculation about ancient history. Whether the truth of these hypotheses is resolved tomorrow, in the 22nd century, or never, depends on the chance interplay of a tiny number of authoritative experts).
    AGW s different, since, as the warmists keep reminding us, time is running out. It won’t be much consolation learning in 2040 that warming isn’t happening, if in themeantime we’ve closed all the power stations and only the Chinese remember how to operate a coal mine.
    Crying “hoax” and “fraud” is a natural, probably unavoidable stage in participation in the debate, and, as more and more people are drawn into the debate, the same points will have to be made over and over again.
    Don’t worry about your 23rd century student. Think of your current readers, and be patient with each new strand which joins the thread.

  4. 2010/12/01 at 14:47

    Here we go again!!

    When I read this article and the complimentary Ref. “My favorite example for that is the dogma against preCambrian complex life, that lasted 93 years in the face of overwhelming evidence. That dogma ended only when a suitable authority was open-minded enough to accept in 1959 what the rocks had been screaming since 1868.”
    I wanted to stand up and SCREAM at the current dogmatic group of AGW‘ers, “Can’t you see it’s happening again, right now, right in your face, for the past 13years?” (only 80 years to go?)

    I am referring to Fred Bailey’s discoveries regarding Sun Spot production but more importantly, the discovery of the underlying mechanism that controls global climate changes. It was first aired here, on this site at;

    https://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/about-frederick-baileys-textbook-of-gravity-sunspots-and-climate/

    I am very grateful for the publicity this brought and the ensuing debates elsewhere but we are struggling against those who appear incapable of being truly objective and enquiring about anything new to science. The late and in my opinion, great, John L Daly, wrote the following extract, reproduced from this site;

    http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm

    “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote –
    The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
    And bathed every veyne in swich licour
    Of which vertu ungendred is the flour;”
    – from The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, 1386

    “Our years are turned upside down;
    our summers are no summers;
    our harvests are no harvests!”
    – John King, an Elizabethan preacher,1595

    “A booklet titled “On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research” [18], published by the National Academy of Science in 1995, provides us with a well-presented set of criteria to guide the conduct of scientists as they navigate their way through the difficult choices they have to make in the way they conduct themselves ethically.

    “The fallibility of methods is a valuable reminder of the importance of skepticism in science. Scientific knowledge and scientific methods, whether old or new, must be continually scrutinized for possible errors. Such skepticism can conflict with other important features of science, such as the need for creativity and for conviction in arguing a given position. But organized and searching skepticism as well as an openness to new ideas are essential to guard against the intrusion of dogma or collective bias into scientific results.”

    Here, scepticism is held up as a virtue, in contrast with the hostile treatment afforded to sceptics in the climate sciences. But we also have this cogent warning against dogma and collective bias intruding into a science. This caution is directly applicable to those involved in climate change research as they have demonstrated numerous times a collective bias in their work, a bias that must inevitably contaminate the peer review process itself.

    A common failing of scientists, particularly those engaged in research which may have impacts upon the public, is to reject any input from the public in the conduct of their work. The peer review process provides an effective barrier to public scrutiny of a science, as is the tendency to regard the public as people to `be educated’ instead of being learned from. The resulting intellectual arrogance has the effect of making scientists into a sort of medieval priesthood, keepers of secret and exclusive knowledge, and to be kept away from prying public eyes. Such an attitude, common with many scientists, is unpardonable given that most research is paid for by public money. This however, does not prevent such scientists from adopting a proprietorial view of their research results. The NAS booklet cautions –

    “In fulfilling these responsibilities scientists must take the time to relate scientific knowledge to society in such a way that members of the public can make an informed decision about the relevance of research. Sometimes researchers reserve this right to themselves, considering non-experts unqualified to make such judgments. But science offers only one window on human experience. While upholding the honor of their profession, scientists must seek to avoid putting scientific knowledge on a pedestal above knowledge obtained through other means.”

    This is a direct criticism of `scientism’, a belief held by many scientists that knowledge not acquired by professional scientists is knowledge not worth having. Scientism is an affront to free people everywhere as it denies the right of the public to judge the work of science, even where this work is funded from taxpayer’s money. It is a formula that holds scientists above criticism, and unaccountable to anyone but their own peers. It is an anti-democratic view of the world and is clearly opposed by the National Academy.

    Yet in the climate sciences, we have numerous examples of public criticism and concern being dismissed with gratuitous statistics and spurious appeals to academic authority.”

    What a superb reminder to ‘who it may concern’.

    Bailey’s mathematical and graphical model of his discoveries are shown in some detail in the recently launched web site at http://www.solarchords.com . The simple (once you know how) method for sunspot cycle prediction has at least elicited comments such as, “Amazing”, “Brilliant” etc. because the maths based upon Newtonian mechanics and unmistakeable correlation with historic records, clearly shows that the method is sound. The second revelation of the mechanism that shows how global climate change is regulated, is based upon the same methods and again gives precise details of the correlation with climate records, explaining periods such as, the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and why the Franklin expedition failed. No one else has been able to do this, indeed the IPCC tried to ‘hide’ these episodes because they did not fit their models.

    There is a growing realisation and now accepted premise that somehow, Solar movements are directly related to climate change. Without exception, many groups, including Rhodes Fairbridge, Nicola Scafetta et al all focus on the main assumption, i.e. That there is some sort of variation in solar output affecting climate and they have all been unable to support this. There are lots of studies that show Solar output is very stable and the small variations there are, are incapable of driving global climate changes.

    The one thing that nobody has considered, until Bailey, is that the other reason why the Earth would receive variable radiant energy, is if the Earth to Sun distance, the Solar Chord Length, VARIES, this is what Bailey has discovered.

    The amount of correlation between Bailey’s work and historic climate records is way beyond any accidental statistical correlation. We only need one professional body to seriously study this method and the flood gates will open.

    Yesterday (11.29.10), the NASA site announced a Collaborative LASP/Goddard Sun-Climate Research Center project dedicated to the study of the Sun’s effect on Earth’s climate. I would like to point out that if they follow the same route as all the other groups, it follows that they will arrive at the same conclusions i.e. There is undoubtedly a Solar link but to date, we have been unable to discover the underlying mechanism.

    I challenge NASA to think outside the box and at least try something new, not stupid or reckless but based upon sound principles and methods, thet may be pleasantly surprised.

    Howard Bailey

  1. 2010/12/01 at 16:33
  2. 2010/12/01 at 14:54
  3. 2010/12/01 at 13:15

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