Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Global Warming Science is Not About "Competing Truths"

On Sunday, Indianapolis Star editor Dennis Ryerson published a response to critics who say that the Star had failed to adequately report on "Climategate," the relevation that researchers at the major university providing information on global warming were involved in nothing less than a conspiracy to manipulate and cover up data to support the theory. The headline to Ryerson's column is entitled: "Competing Truths About Climate Change." In the column, Ryerson notes that both sides on the man is causing global warming debate are right.

Ryerson's description of what science is about is not accurate.

Science is about the objective search for the truth. I don't recall in school learning that the scientific method involves selective use and manipulation of data to get a hoped for result. Science must be objective - the search for the truth regardless of what that truth is. We as a society are going down a very dangerous road when we allow science to be politicized. Yet that has happened with respect to the global warming debate.

Indianapolis Star reader Frank Sparzo from Fishers wrote a letter to the editor which appears in today's paper. He says it better than I could have:

Brooks says that government is usually a contest between competing, unequal truths.

That may be a comforting idea for those who govern, and Brooks and Ryerson, but not for science. Good decisions about complex matters should be based on good science, not on how many "scientists" are on one or another side of an issue.

Science is a public enterprise. Fundamentally, the issue is not so much about competing "truths," as Brooks and Ryerson would have us believe, but about the process by which scientific data are found, collected and reported. Any hint that scientific research systematically excludes sound contradictory evidence, keeping such evidence from being public, should signal a thorough review of the science in question.

Good science is necessarily interested in contrary evidence. Good government decisions ought to be, too.

13 comments:

Downtown Indy said...

Scientific Method:

Ask a Question
Do Background Research
Construct a Hypothesis
Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
Communicate Your Results

Al Gore Method:

Draw a Conclusion
Find Data that fits Conclusion
Construct a Hypothosis
Communicate Your Results
Ridicule those who ask Questions

How much of his Nobel prize money has he contributed to research or any other aspect of his crusade (other than to himself)?

Doug said...

So, if we find global warming deniers being less than scientifically rigorous, we'll hear clarion calls to be dismissive of their positions even where other supporters of the position have not been tarnished?

Same with evolution deniers?

My point being that there seems to be a double standard. Take Sarah Palin as a prominent conservative politician. She supports the notion that creationism should be taught as a competing theory in the classroom despite something less than rigorous application of the scientific method to development of the creationist theory.

And, yet, she cites the hacked climate e-mails as reason for President Obama to boycott Copenhagen.

Paul K. Ogden said...

So, if we find global warming deniers being less than scientifically rigorous, we'll hear clarion calls to be dismissive of their positions even where other supporters of the position have not been tarnished?

Absolutely.

Same with evolution deniers?

Absolutely, though I would point out that much of the debate today accepts evolution but concludes that a divine creater was behind it - that how the world came to be wasn't a series of fortunate coincidences. That's actually a question - the "why" things happened - that is a theological question that is really outside of science to answer.

FYI, the faith I am, Catholic, has accepted evolution as true for a long, long time.

Thomas Ho said...

Since science is always pushing the frontiers of knowledge, I just don't understand how supporters of anthropogenic global warming can say "The debate is over"

Paul K. Ogden said...

RETRACTION:

Sorry, Doug, I reread again what you wrote:

"So, if we find global warming deniers being less than scientifically rigorous, we'll hear clarion calls to be dismissive of their positions even where other supporters of the position have not been tarnished?"

I overlooked your qualifier starting with "where." (Sorry, short attention span.)

The entire "man is causing dangerous global warning" is based on flawed science. It only considers the last 130 years of records instead of looking at a much lengthier period of climate records. They also simply assume that a warmer climate is bad and that today's is ideal.

Man has historically prospered with a warmer climate, even a warmer climate than today.

I have yet to see global warming studies that take into account all climate records that are available. They dont do that. I don't know of anyone's research on the subject that is above question,yet that is exactly what those who push global warming want you to believe - they want debate cut off. They don't want their science questioned. A true scientist doesn't act like that.

varangianguard said...

DI, unfortunately too many researchers in any discipline change your list to:

Find a dataset that you think might be able to describe your question.
Then, twist, manipulate, massage, rotate said data to "fit" your hypothesis (which you sure want to be "true", if you hope to ever be funded again).
Then, draw your conclusion that you were indeed absolutely correct.

And before any shorter versions are made of this, consider the following.

Has anyone here ever read research in a journal where said researcher(s) concludes that he/she was full of baloney, and that the initial hypothesis was just a bunch of hot air?

One cannot allow themselves to be researching hypotheses that aren't correct. Can't get tenure, can't get published, can't get funding. Can't get no respect either.

So if, in fact, it appears that your life's work was wrong, said researcher(s) will scream, hiss and carry on that their detractor(s) are damn liars and ignorant besides.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

I'd bet my lunch money that none of those commenting (or the original poster) is a scientist.

Politics is the art of the possible. Science is an eternal quest for replicable hypotheses. The two don't speak the same language.

And, unfortunately, "global warming" is a political question.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I think that one thing that is overlooked is the influence of the prosect of getting grants on academic types. People complain about the influence of who is funding the other side, but the academic side supporting the global warming theory is just as bad if not worse.

Downtown Indy said...

What evidence is there that contracting industry, fossil fuels, and so on will accomplish a 'reversal' of global warming?

I suggest the cause, if there is one, for global warming, if it exists, is having too many people.

world population timeline

Dang, lookit that! A 'hockey stick!'

Does this mean we need to eliminate more people? 3-4 billion ought to to it.

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

There's a lovely You Tube of Lord Christopher Monckton on the street at Copenhagen discussing global warming with a Greenpeace activist. Needless to say Lord Monckton wowed her with facts.

Google Lord Monckton vs Greenpeace to find it

Patriot Paul said...

I agree with P.Ogden that global warming incorporated flawed and some deliberately misleading info which taints the issue until we have all the facts. The purpose of the Norway climate gathering is more about 'control' and forcing countries to anni-up giant contributions for fat cats poised for their own slush-fund agenda.
Secondly, we cannot deny climate concerns are a political issue just as abortion is a political issue because of laws and regulations already in place that affect citizens and their pocketbook.
Thirdly, call me old fashioned, but I reject evolution as fact, though school books preface it as a theory yet assume & teach it like a fact. I might take exception to the notion that a Supreme Being argument makes it a theological issue because of 'why', when it could also be construed as the 'how' of origins(instantaneously as opposed to epochs of time). And as a 'how', not 'why', it rightfully belongs in both the scientific and religious fields of inquiry. Some would say it takes more faith to believe in evolution than creationism.

varangianguard said...

HitH, I have had some experience with science. Thanks for trying to be dimissive.

Research as it exists today is also all political (try to get tenured, published or funded without playing that game). But, that is mainly peer politics.

Most times it just isn't as interesting to the likes of those carrying on about the sky falling.

Shorebreak said...

To fully understand the context of the climate change debate, take a look at the draft agreement that was presented by the UN in Novemeber as a starting point. Among the numerous subsections are terms that establish a supra-national committee with authority over all signing governments on matters that are covered within the terms of the agreement.

Included is the authority for the committee to relocate industry AND dollars to and from the countries of the committees choosing.

Ultimately, it's not a climate agreement. It's the first step towards a supra-national government that has concrete and resolute authority over the governments of signing nations.

You won't find the truth in media, no matter what your political leaning or flavor. Take your efforts straight to the source if you want to understand the objectives of climate change proponents. It's a globalist objective for global control of manufacturing (hence global control of the world economy).

The following link will take you to the guidance document that was issued to the Copenhagen conference as the foundation/bones to be used as a common reference in establishing an agreement. Signees in the agreement are collectively referenced as the "Conference of the Parties", or COP.

It sets up an actual government (page 18, section 38) including the following in Section 38, subsection (c) on page 19:

"an international registry for the monitoring, reporting and
verification of compliance of emission reduction commitments, and the transfer of
technical and financial resources from developed countries to developing countries
."

If you have any question regarding whether or not climate change is anything more than a global power grab, you probably haven't read the plans that are awaiting implementation.

http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/awglca7/eng/inf02.pdf