Wednesday 9 February 2011

Why global warming/ climate change really is *the* biggest science scam


While anthropogenic global warming/ climate change does have some rivals in its claim to be the biggest scientific scam of all time - rivals in term of waste of money, damage to human prosperity and freedom, damage to health and happiness - on closer consideration, climate science stands head-and-shoulders above all possible competitors.


The reason is quite simple: all other major scientific errors have at least the attribute of being broadly-plausible explanations of things that are broadly-plausibly explicable.

Other errors are mistaken (or incompetent, or dishonest) claims to be able to understand and control things that are at least potentially understandable, predictable and controllable by actually-existing human beings using actually-existing science.


But the unique attribute of climate science is its stunningly audacious claim to be able to understand, to predict, and to control global temperature and climate.

This claim is so wildly implausible, so far beyond human capability, so utterly impossible; that if the claim to be able to understand, predict and control the global temperature and climate is accepted - even if just accepted in principle - then anything else which follows its acceptance is very easily swallowed.

Once the community of climate scientists (those industrious drudges, those intellectual pygmies, those tamed technicians) have convinced the world of their superhuman, transcendental abilities - then of course we will believe that they know everything and can do anything.


The really Big Lie makes possible belief in any number of Little Lies.



HenryOrientJnr said...

The Big Lie about Climate Change is that most of the supposed remedies for it (Kyoto etc.) will have negligible effect.

The basic science on which the Global Warming theory is based is unobjectionable. CO2 is definitely a greenhouse gas which, in the absence of any other factor, will cause the temperature to go up. It is that "absence of any other factor" which is where all the controversy lies.

My recommendations: observe some more, study some more, investigate engineering solutions etc. - but don't destroy the economy or our civilization with wild government-directed schemes to force the adoption of "green" technologies before they are proven or even needed.

Bruce Charlton said...

HOJnr -

Well, not really... the Big Lie is that anybody understands anything at all about future climate.

There is no point in debating minutiae like the relative importance of CO2 when we don't have a clue what we are talking about.

So I do find the basic science of climate change *grossly* objectionable! - in the sense that I am disgusted when ignorant people claim to have precise knowledge, which they then impose on me!

In medicine such people are called Quacks, and are recognized as very dangerous indeed (especially the licensed quacks).

BTW - Yesterday I came across a posting of yours on YouTube - you had illustrated George Butterworth's Banks of Green Willow with some of your delightful photos - I was sending the link to someone.

Beautiful, tragic music isn't it?

Dirichlet said...

I wonder about the many other Big Lies in "science" out there that stay shielded by the ideological Brahmins of peer review.

Anecdote: I've met many science PhD students lately with almost zero knowledge of basic epistemology -- many of them have never heard of the problem of induction! And, of course, no knowledge of/interest in basic logic and philosophy ("that's useless BS").

This is why C.S. Lewis made the important distinction between "natural philosopher" and "scientist," the latter being a simple specialist who applies a set of predefined methodologies.

It seems to me that, for most of modernity, the scientific process relied on the division of labor to put the pieces together; this arrangement worked out successfully because the epistemological framework was a given, i.e. almost everyone had a clear concept of what truth meant. This is not the case anymore -- today "truth" is arbitrarily defined by majority vote, committees and other bureaucracies, all of which are irrational and deeply ideological.

Oswald Spengler observed that, during the winter phase of civilization, science becomes ideological and cultish and dominated by bureaucracy and democracy, until it finally gets exhausted.