The current alarm on climate change is fuelled by a claimed unanimity of simulation models. The proponents – or maybe a better description would be adherents – of alarming climate change, assert that their “science” is settled. 97% of “selected” respondents agree! Just who is selected and how a questionnaire substitutes for the scientific method is not explained.
Simulation models are amazing things. Smart mathematics and powerful modern computing has enabled the proliferation of simulations of just about everything, quickly and cheaply. Certainly the prognostication of climate has been plagued by a focus on a myriad models.
But while maths, computing and models can be useful to the broader process of scientific methodology and discovery, they are not in themselves necessarily “scientific”. Certainly the crucial element of the climate alarmist justification, the “climate model” is not scientific, and an individual building a model and enabling simulations is not a scientist as a consequence of the model.
It would seem that a great many so called climate modellers are not particularly cognizant of the scientific method. According to the scientific method, a reasonable and diligent scientist might design an experiment to test a hypothesis. With the hypothesis in focus the scientist would collect relevant data, run appropriate statistical tests and subsequently appraise the veracity or otherwise of the hypothesis. If the data and subsequent tests don’t come up to scratch, the hypothesis is reasonably rejected.
But this is not what climate modellers do. In the universe of climate alarmism certain “claims” do exist which might benefit from rigorous testing, but they seem instead to be accepted as absolute truth. The alarmist claims are that human activity “causes” an increased concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and subsequently this increased CO2 concentration “causes” a warming of the atmosphere.
In a scientific way it is clear that there are at least two clear hypotheses which could be tested here, but unfortunately there is little evidence of hypothesis testing or scientific methodology in the climate alarmist modelling sideshow.
Claims do not equal hypotheses and climate simulation modelling does not equal the scientific method.
In fact, while it is difficult and inordinately complicated to establish that human activity “causes” increased CO2 in the atmosphere (testing the first hypothesis) the outcome on the second hypothesis has become increasingly clear. The temperature hiatus which has established over the past 18 to 20 years seems to refute the hypothesis that increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere “causes” a warming of the atmosphere and the planet. The rejection of the warming hypothesis needs to be seen in the setting that a similar time frame of CO2 – temperature data was used to make the claim (hypothesis) in the first place.
While the CO2 – warming hypothesis is rejected the response from so many climate alarmist modellers is quite strange and unexplainable from a scientific point of view. Good science is never static or settled, it moves on. If one possible hypothesis is rejected it is dumped in a rubbish bin and other hypotheses are sought which might better explain the observations.
But this does not seem to be happening. The climate modellers seem to be ignoring the hypothesis rejection and instead of seeking better hypotheses the resort is to find dubious ways to justify their claims. Firstly there is significant evidence of tampering with the data – if the numbers don’t fit, modellers have always found ways to clean up and homogenize their data to get whatever outcome is desired. But manipulating data is not science. The second recourse of so many climate alarmists is to vilify any scientist who might point out that modelling and number projection is not the scientific method.
The problem with mathematical modelling is that while it takes some considerable expertise to build and the data going into the equations might be reasonably collected, what comes out is always going to be normative. Sadly it is anticipated that a good many climate modellers will not appreciate the significant difference between a positive or objective consideration and a subjective or normative outcome. What comes ought of the climate models is always what might be or “what ought to be” (according to the model specifications). In terms of the difficulties of identifying causality the reality might be something completely different. Fundamentally, the need to include a large number of variables in the model specification inevitably means that the error bands are huge resulting in low predictive confidence. At this stage the various national meteorological services using the best weather models, have difficulty projecting the weather in a week with much confidence and to predict weather with confidence for 365 days hence is ridiculous. Subsequently, any attempt to predict the weather and climate at the end of this century, with confidence, is absurd.
Good scientists have always been cognizant of the difficulties when dealing with causality in their deliberations – an issue first raised succinctly and explicitly by the great Scottish philosopher David Hume in the 18th century. Unfortunately, the modern modellers do seem to be ignorant of the immutability of causality as they are of the fundamental normative nature of their prognostications.
Given the logical impossibility of identifying climate causality – on top of the huge technical issues of variable and model specification – the prospect of projecting what might be or what ought to be in one hundred years is simply so much subjective guessing.
Unfortunately, so much unscientific speculation has caused significant economic dislocation and undue transactions cost already and portends huge waste in the future. As well the distraction of modelling as meaningful science means that significant and serious issues are not give sufficient attention.
Ultimately, as a function of a guess as to what might be at some very distant time in the future, the proselytes of climate alarm propose nothing short of the suspension of democracy. The establishment of a new climate tyranny they feel is justified, without any grounding in causality, where the clear hypothesis on warming is rejected, where subjective projections are generated with meaningless confidence levels and where the scientific method is bypassed in favour of a dubious questionnaire of unidentified subjectively screened individuals who might classify themselves as climate experts but not necessarily scientists.
History tells us that many human societies have survived by being adaptable to unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately, the suspension of democracy, based only on a lie which is categorically not scientific, portends a disaster when the what might have been does not eventuate or translates into something else unforseen. Ironically, crying wolf at a mirage can mean that humanity is not prepared to cope and adapt when real crisis emerge.