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Global warming emails:Bad Astronomy

As far as the scientists’ attitudes go, much hay has been made of that as well. But I wonder. Imagine you’ve dedicated your life to some scientific pursuit. You do it because you love it, because you want to make the world a better place, and because you can see the physics beneath the surface, weaving the tapestry of reality, guiding the ebb and flow of forces both subtle and gross.

So here’s a legitimate question:  do you really support science?  What if the science makes the world a worse place?  Are you still going to do it?  What if the only way to make the world a better place (in your image, at least) is to abandon science?  Because quite frankly, that is what I see when I look at CRU.  I see people who had an idea of what a “better” world would be… and the science didn’t support them. They had to choose.

What is particularly galling is to see people who call themselves “skeptics” supporting this shoddy, politicized religion masquerading as science.  A lot of comments are made about this paper being paid for by Exxon, and that paper being paid for by Exxon, and therefore we can’t trust them and they aren’t real science.  How, then, are we supposed to trust papers paid for by governments, when the people who run the governments are the ones who will benefit from the control policies based on these papers?  How is that conflict of interest any better than Exxon’s?  Because we trust government?  There are a few billion people murdered by their own governments in the 20th century alone that would counsel against that attitude.

The examples of code in the hacked files may have been early versions, or had some estimations (called, not always accurately, fudge factors) used in place of real numbers… the thing is, we don’t know. Drawing conclusions of widespread scientific fraud from what we’ve seen is ridiculous.

Drawing any conclusion but fraud is ridiculous given that CRU still refuses to disclose the current code.  When a priest claims a miracle but won’t allow you to see the back side of the altar, a skeptic would not hesitate to call him a fraud, whether he could explain what the priest did or not.  Why would we give someone the benefit of doubt because they fancy themselves as a scientist rather than a priest?  Humans are human.

I’ll note that some people are still upset by my use of the term deniers. Again, to be clear: a skeptic is someone who uses evidence and logic to reach a conclusion. A denialist is someone who will say or do anything to deny an issue. I stand by my definition.

And I assert that your position is not based on logic, given that it is all, 100%, based on an appeal to questionable authority, with a nice big bandwagon fallacy thrown in for good measure.  An authority that, by all appearances, is no such thing.

3 Comments

  1. mexigogue says:

    I’ve warned my daughter against arguing from a conclusion and then I wondered if I was inadvertently insulting her by point out the obvious. I appears from this post that I’m not. Down with pseudo science and politically motivated balderdash (yeah I said it). Up with rationality.

  2. This is the issue I’ve always had with the consensus argument. I don’t give a good damn that a bunch of intellectually inbred scientists all agree with each other. I want the science to be science and that never ever includes a “consensus”. More especially it can never include a consensus about a system as vast as the climate, which by any reckoning has cycles thousands of years long. How can we possibly claim to be able to predict a system that we have only begun to closely monitor for decades not centuries, and even then the monitoring is less than effective and accurate given that not all monitoring stations are placed away from heat producing man-made objects like air conditioners.

  3. mexigogue says:

    I sometimes invoke the consensus of “ten white guys in labcoats” who allegedly agree with me but that’s always in jest. Consensus has no place in any serious argument.