Thursday, January 27, 2011

Science: AGW sceptics are reactionaries, not revolutionaries

There is a brisk debate about science occurring below. I have a feeling that what goes on in comment slots is often lost to public vies, so I am bringing this exchange forward. 

Anonymous said:
"There is always consensus in science and most of the scientific community are generally 'won over' by the arguments of the day

Until the Next Big Idea comes along... and they all subscribe to that".

RL: It's not quite like that. There is a process of debate, sure. But it is not an empty dialectic.

Science walks on three legs: Observation, Hypothesis Formation, and Experimentation designed to refute the hypothesis. If the hypothesis survives (often with modifications) a reasonable amount of experimentation, it becomes accepted as the consensus.

Science is not a random walker. Each step or cycle adds to what we know, taking us as it were closer to the truth about how reality works.

New scientific ideas are a matter of pattern recognition, aka induction.

It is very very clear what the pattern is with regard to man made heat trapping gases on the planet.

But there's none so blind as them as will not see, and the oil companies and free marketeers ones who are threatened by climate science, and therefore they will not see the pattern. Their ideology refuses to let them accept the facts, because of the consequences attached to the facts.

I witnessed a cameo of this phenomenon in debate, where an intelligent Green Party member refused to accept the axiom that it is impossible to  expand forever into a finite space, because he saw what this would mean in terms of immigration policy.

In terms of scientific progress, Climate change "sceptics" try to make out they are the valiant vanguard of a new way of viewing climate data, against an entrenched warming paradigm. In fact they are the rearguard of the early 20th century view, which was that CO2 could not affect the planet, based on a misunderstood experiment by Koch to test a hypothesis by Arrhenius. The "Warmists" are in fact the new, revolutionary idea which is accepted by the scientific community, but is struggling to establish itself in the public mind due to the overweening influence of free market ideology on scientifically illiterate journalists.

Here is Rupert Murdoch's Fox News' latest offering, trying to undermine confidence in the latest data, which shows 1998, 2005 and 2010 to the hottest years on record.

No comments: