Sunday, December 28, 2008


The Self-Immolation of Science

I studied Old Norse in grad school (ever a fan of dead languages I) and wrote a paper in 1977 which showed that the period of greatest vigor, first heroic and then literary, in Iceland a millennium ago coincided with what was then called the Little Optimum, now called the Medieval Warm Period. To reach that conclusion I had to read a lot of climatological studies. Thus, when some of the Warmies published data which completely erased the Little Optimum from history (the most egregious of which Warmie propaganda was the thoroughly discredited Mann hockey stick graph), I knew something was wrong. I have become ever more convinced, though silently, that certain scientists, for political reasons, have abandoned real science and are shilling for the hoax, anthropogenic global warming. I didn't want to believe it, and in an unaccustomed period of humility, I thought, who am I to accuse them of bad acts or bad science? I'm just an English major (with an MA in Old English) and a lawyer. But I feel I can't keep quiet any more and since someone else with greater scientific credentials is saying the same thing, I am silent no more.

It is not just a coincidence that the temperature measurements which can be manipulated are showing consistently warmer temperatures than the two satellite measurers which cannot be easily manipulated.

Not only are the Warmies backing the wrong horse, they are cooking the books to support the horse (if that's not too mixed a metaphor for you).

Shame on them. Our reaction should go beyond mere disbelief, past even ignoring them--we should hold them in active disdain. More to follow, including names.

Here are the bits of the Tulane Professor's letter I just read which I found so compelling:

It is obvious that anthropogenic global warming is not science at all, because a scientific theory makes non-obvious predictions which are then compared with observations that the average person can check for himself. As we both know from our own observations, AGW theory has spectacularly failed to do this. The theory has predicted steadily increasing global temperatures, and this has been refuted by experience. NOW the global warmers claim that the Earth will enter a cooling period. In other words, whether the ice caps melt, or expand --- whatever happens --- the AGW theorists claim it confirms their theory. A perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology.

I emphasized [above] that the average person has to be able to check the observations. I emphasize this because I no longer trust "scientists" to report observations correctly. I think the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW. We've seen many recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies. In one case, Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record. Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used September's temperatures for Russia rather than October's. I'm not surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern hemisphere.


Another shocking thing about the AGW theory is that it is generating a loss of true scientific knowledge. The great astronomer William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, observed in the early 1800's that warm weather was correlated with sunspot number. Herschel noticed that warmer weather meant better crops, and thus fewer sunspots meant higher grain prices. The AGW people are trying to do a disappearing act on these observations. Some are trying to deny the existence of the Maunder Minimum.


AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one's scientific opponents. The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative. Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark. Shortly after his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the "consensus" view on AGW and other environmental questions. Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would have been fired. Stillman Drake, the world's leading Galileo scholar, demonstrates in his book "Galileo: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford University Press, 2001) that it was not theologians, but rather his fellow physicists (then called "natural philosophers"), who manipulated the Inquisition into trying and convicting Galileo. The "out-of-the-mainsteam" Galileo had the gall to prove the consensus view, the Aristotlean theory, wrong by devising simple experiments that anyone could do. Galileo's fellow scientists first tried to refute him by argument from authority. They failed. Then these "scientists" tried calling Galileo names, but this made no impression on the average person, who could see with his own eyes that Galileo was right. Finally, Galileo's fellow "scientists" called in the Inquisition to silence him.

I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition's case against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama's new science advisor. Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are "dangerous." I think it is people like Holdren who are dangerous, because they are willing to use state power to silence their scientific opponents.

(h/t William Katz'a blog Urgent Agenda via John Hinderaker at Power Line)


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