Saturday, January 15, 2011

eviseration by Eschenbach

It is possible that someone might look first to this blog and has not yet seen this guest post by Willis Eschenbach over at WUWT.  For that reason alone it is worth summarizing his key points.  And for those who have read his post, add mine to the list of those other blogs who should take the opportunity to both praise and highlight his excellent evisceration of some of the most pernicious AGW, IPCC myths.

These myths are promulgated by the type of expertise politics exposed by the Climategate emails -- the arrogance, bullying and self-serving politics that hides behind an academic sheen but is ultimately as self-serving as any other bureaucratic, stasist politics of control.  The tactics are the same.  The language and the derisiveness, the same.  

What we do not learn from history, we are condemned to repeat. Science is not politics and when people assert their science as politics, they cannot select which rules and criteria should apply to their assertions and hide behind their academic pretensions for their bad politics.

But enough of the rant.  Eschenbach's excellent evisceration:
  • This hypothesis, generally called the “AGW hypothesis”, is that if greenhouse gases (GHGs)  go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters. The hypothesis is that the GHGs are the master thermostat for the globe, everything else just averages out in the long run, nothing could possibly affect the long-term climate but GHGs, nothing to see here, folks, move along. No other forcings, feedbacks, or hypotheses need apply. GHGs rule, OK?
  • Which is an interesting hypothesis, but it is woefully short of either theoretical or observational support. In part, of course, this is because the AGW hypothesis provides almost nothing in the way of a statement or a prediction which can be falsified. This difficulty in falsification of the hypothesis, while perhaps attractive to the proponents of the hypothesis, inevitably implies a corresponding difficulty in verification or support of the hypothesis.
  • In addition, a number of arguably cogent and certainly feasible scientific objections have been raised against various parts of the hypothesis, from the nature and sign of the forcings considered and unconsidered, to the existence of natural thermostatic mechanisms.
  • Finally, to that we have to add the general failure of what few predictions have come from the teraflops of model churning in support of the AGW hypothesis.
  • So to date, the evidentiary scorecard looks real bad for the AGW hypothesis. Might change tomorrow, I’m not saying the game’s over, that’s AGW nonsense that I’ll leave to Dr. T. I’m just saying that after a quarter century of having unlimited funding and teraflops of computer horsepower and hundreds of thousands of hours of grad students’ and scientists’ time and the full-throated support of the media and university departments dedicated to establishing the hypothesis, AGW supporters have not yet come up with much observational evidence to show for the time and money invested.
So what to do? Eschenbach offers the following shortlist of rules for the reigning Climatocracy:
  1. Show that some aspect of the climate is historically anomalous or unusual 
  2. Show that the anomaly can be explained by human actions 
  3. Defend your work 
  4. Show your work 
  5. Stop trying to sell the idea that the science is settled 
  6. Don’t try to change the rules of the game in mid-stream 
  7. Stop calling people “deniers” 
  8. Stop avoiding public discussion and debate of your work 
  9. Write scientific papers that don’t center around words like “possibly” 
  10. Stop lauding the pathetic purveyors of failed prophecies 
  11. Enough with the scary scenarios, already 
  12. Speak out against scientific malfeasance whenever and wherever you see it. This is critical to the restoration of trust 
  13. Stop re-asserting the innocence of you and your friends 
  15. Admit the true uncertainties 
  16. Scrap the IPCC 

I would argue that the only people who will find discomfort or disagreement with this list of game rules are those who worship at the alter of expertise and elitism, and not the primacy of democracy.  These rules do not dispute nor diminish the substantiation of scientific evidence, only the political assertion of gut instinct, ideology and personal opinion as scientific facts.

Follow up
just as I was commenting on Eschenbach, Lindzen posted his latest exposition of the failings of AGW alarmism, excellently placed in context by this commentary on QandO.  
More to come...