The Business Of Science

A question for you: What is the global warming   climate changeextreme climate” debate about? If you answered something along the lines of proving or disproving that warming is real, you’d be wrong. That is a talking point intended to prop up a strawman argument that has nothing to do with the actual debate.

All reputable “scientists” believe that the earth has warmed in the last century. There’s a little bit of quibbling around the margins of error regarding the degree of warming, but there is no doubt that there is warming. The actual debate is if that warming is entirely human caused (anthropogenic global warming or AGW), a product of natural cycles, or a mixture of the two. That’s it. There is no other debate. Anything else you hear is horribly ill-informed or intentional spin by folks with an agenda. The derisive label of “climate change denier” is a fabrication that has nothing to do with what the actual science is about.

The problem so many people have with the AGW hypothesis is that it’s (originally) based on a series of computer models that haven’t just been wroclimateng, they’ve been spectacularly wrong. For example, did you know that until 2016 we most likely had a pause in warming that lasted 18 years (yes, really).This seemingly contradicts the idea that exponential growth in CO2 emissions is the direct (and only) cause of warming. This alone should cause people to question the original idea. There are hundreds of other peer reviewed studies and papers postulating other potential reasons for warming. Shouldn’t the idea that there’s only one possible cause of warming be examined further?

The foundation of science is that you come up with a hypothesis, do a bunch of experiments to try and prove your idea, then open it up to others to try and disprove it. Consensus has no part in the scientific discussion. We have been unable to prove the idea that CO2 emissions are the sole cause of changes in our global climate. It’s still just an interesting idea so far.

Understanding climate is hard. Every year there are new discoveries about ocean currents, the ocean as a CO2 sink, and solar cycles, heat reservoirs, etc… Look at your local weather forecast (yes, I understand that weather is not climate). Arguably the bulk of our research dollars today goes into accurate weather forecasting – after all it can have real impact on peoples lives. With all the technology we currently have, the best we can do with a weather forecast is have a general idea a week out and a pretty good idea 48 hours out. Truly accurate forecasts of wind speeds, directions, rainfall amounts, etc… are still only in the 4-6 hour out range. This stuff is difficult. There are thousands of factors that can impact a storm as it travels towards you. Why would something as complex as figuring out global climate (measured in decades or centuries) be any easier or certain?

The entire purpose of science is to question. Unfortunately, the discussion has become religion for people, throwing around terms like “denier”. Let’s be clear – there is NO 97% of all scientists agree. As soon as you start hearing consensus in science you should be worried. There is no consensus – there’s facts. You can either prove it and have it stand up to peer review or you can’t. Until then, it’s just an idea. When Bill Nye “the science guy” and Al Gore resort to faking a science experiment to prove their point, you should question the motives.

So why would so many reputable scientists (or the UN) push an unproven idea… even cultivating a distracting narrative about the issue when that’s not the real discussion? As Rod Tidwell said in Jerry Maguire – it’s all about the Quan baby. Follow the money. You can’t risk having the research dollars dry up. I have no problem with continuing the research. I encourage it. What I disagree with is turning a scientific discussion into a religion that demonizes and characterizes people as non-believers and heretics, while in pursuit of money. Even scarier is crafting political policies that can have real economic impact based on an completely unproven idea.

If you believe that rising CO2 levels are the sole cause of the earths global temperature changes – prove it beyond a doubt and disprove the other ideas (i.e. science). Do that and I’ll be AGW’s biggest cheerleader. Until then keep it as what it is… an interesting scientific discussion that warrants further research. Nothing more, nothing less.


 

There are three misconceptions in particular that bedevil our thinking. The first: isn’t there a disagreement among scientists as to whether the problem is real or not? Actually… not really.

I believe this is a moral issue. It is your time to seize this issue. It is our time to rise again, to secure our future

– Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

Dr. Peter Venkman: [to librarian Alice] Are you currently menstruating?
Library Administrator: What has that got to do with anything?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Back off man, I’m a scientist.

All Hail Conventional Wisdom

Rick Grimes once said, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result”. It might have been Simon Cowell who said it. I’m not very good with my fact checking. Anyway, I’ve been amused at the latest schoolyard spat over who’s the least qualified on foreign policy. It’s interesting watching the talking heads andpajamas foreign policy experts reporting in their pajamas from  their living rooms via skype, all expressing intellectual dismay at the “frightening, and frankly dangerous” lack of worldly knowledge certain candidates display.

Because I like to question everything, let me ask you something. What was the last foreign policy success we’ve had since, say the end of the cold war? Have we had an honest to goodness success that didn’t cost us untold billions, thousands of lost lives, or destroyed economies, infrastructures and inspired hatred for generations? Seriously? Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Kosovo? Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Syria, Libya, Egypt? Basically anywhere in the Middle East. How many billions have been spent stationing troops in South Korea for the last 50+ years? How’d Somalia work out for us? Nicaragua? I guess our bright shinning star is that we once liberated some medical students on the “Island of Spice“. You can pry my nutmeg from my cold, dead, fingers…

Given our track record, why would we listen to anything the experts tell us? What they appear to be expert at is maintaining the status quo. Which apparently consists of selling arms and issuing foreign aid at a rate which boggles the mind. Meanwhile we’re told we need to pay more taxes because we can’t afford to buy more number 2 pencils for little Johnny. At least we have enough checks left in the checkbook to afford the $1.4 million it cost to develop an app for the TSA that randomly points left and right.

I’ve enjoyed watching the momentum Trump and Sanders have created with the people being pissed off at the establishment. It’s about time. But when the establishment parties ignore the people (you didn’t really think you had any say in this did you, silly rabbit) and put in place the candidates of their choosing, what are the people going to do? Will that initial momentum have enough inertia to continue to drift towards revolution… or will it just be the latest occupy movement that fizzles out as soon as we come to grips with the fact that American Idol is never coming back?