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    Wednesday, June 06, 2007


    Lil pointed out this essay in comments. It is indeed interesting.

    I've actually not read that one until now, but I have seen quite a bit of controversy over Mann's "Hockey Stick" and his failure to publish his methodologies. Anybody who refuses to publish their methodologies immediately forfeits their right to be called a scientist. In any news item about Mann's hockey stick, this should be the prominent fact: he refuses to release all the details of his statistical methodology and his sampling techniques, which is standard scientific practice. They could even contrast it to the business practice of trade secrets to keep a competitive advantage, because there is no competitive advantage in climate science.

    Jerry Pournelle's website also has quite a bit on this stuff, and Dr. Pournelle is not only a fairly smart science fiction writer, he's also a highly educated engineer, so he has a lot of insight into sampling methodologies and the rigorous requirements to publish experiments.

    So, the above was an "appeal to authority" and it's often effective, even though it is a logical fallacy if I were to simply point to another famous person and say "Jerry Pournelle doesn't believe in anthropogenic global warming, so I don't either," but that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that considerable credible science points to other reasons, enough that it doesn't make sense to start rushing off in the wrong direction. If there were no economic or human cost to the changes the carbon-centric global warming enthusiasts suggest, then I would say go for it. But TAANSTAFL- they haven't proposed anything realistic so far. Even dual-purpose changes that would increase our national security, like nuclear power plants weaning us off of Oil dictatorships like Venezuela make the greenies go all spastic.

    Science is the technique of increasing human ability to predict by falsifying incorrect theories through repeatable demonstration of observable phenomena.

    Policy prescriptions based upon junk scence (like my talk about the Precautionary Principle the other day) are scary.

    Science is not something we take on faith. We don't prove our theories correct, we disprove false theories. Consensus proves nothing- one lone voice can be correct, or they can be a complete nutter- it all depends upon whether or not their observations can be repeated using honest methodology. Manufactured consensus (through bribery, threats, or blackmail, even of the "I'll ruin your reputation" kind) is even worse than the plain ignorant kind.

    Alternative theories of climate change are well on their way to becoming "hate speech" thoughtcrimes. That is a tragedy for everyone.

    Bjorn Lomborg has been character-assasinated for daring to raise questions, even though his suggestions include a lot of common sense and demonstrate a lot more compassion than many greenies- Bjorn doesn't advocate air-borne ebola virus wiping out the majority of the human species with a smirk on his face.


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