The Death of Certainty: Anthropogenic Global Warming in Trouble

February 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Posted in Ramblings | Leave a comment
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Today, class, I want to talk about Anthropogenic Global Warming. I know, you’re saying right now, “Panicky, you know it’s impolite to talk about politics, religion or money in polite conversation, because it always leads to either discomfort or discord.” Either that or you’re saying, “oops, wrong site.” Well two things: first is that it’s my blog, not a polite conversation, so ha. Second is the fact that global warming is a scientific matter, and it isn’t, by nature, a political one. It’s just been picked up by politicians as political. But it’s still science.

Science, in order to be kept respectable and feasible, needs to be transparent and open to scrutiny. Scientific theorems need to be examined closely in order to be made an actual Theory, with a capital T, and eventually Law when considered completely immutable. Therefore, we can assume that the Law of Gravity, the Laws of Thermodynamics and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, for example, have been studied ad nauseum, their data meticulously poured over and objectively tested. This is the nature of the scientific method.

Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming, or Climate Change as it has become more popularly called in recent years, is also a scientific theorem. The theorem is roughly this: societal and industrial development has had a deleterious effect on our environment, and is expected to continue until drastic measures are taken to halt this effect.

Anthropogenic Global Warming (or AGW) skeptics have used the recent wintry weather to prove that it is false, the same way Global Warming proponents use hot days in summertime to prove that it is true. But who is right? Here’s the skinny: For years AGW skeptics have been raging on about how climatologists have refused to show all of their data, or open their research to scientific debate. Skeptics have also claimed that they’ve been made to look as fools by the mass media for questioning something that was considered unquestionable. The United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change stated in 2007 that, by 2035, the Himalayan glaciers would have completely melted, killing millions, perhaps close to a billion. The science was certainly infallible.

Then Climategate occurred in November of 2009, and the proverbial levee broke. Thousands of e-mails and documents from the University of East Angila were hacked, and leaked to the media. Although the majority of the data was mundane, a small portion of it was not; it showed Phil Jones, Ph.D., the head of the Climate Research Unit of UEA, and Michael E. Mann, Ph.D. of Pennsylvania State University engaging in Machiavellian tactics regarding their beliefs on AGW, including, but not limited to:

1. sending and receiving e-mails that encouraged slander of those who questioned their beliefs,

2. deleting e-mails and information that could be harmful to them under the Freedom of Information Act,

3. acting in collusion to withhold key information regarding their scientific method, and

4. skewing the academic peer review process by barring dissenting ideas or information from entering scientific journals

The words “trick” and “hide the decline” were also used. What has happened to these scientists since? Michael E. Mann was one of the originators of the now legendary hockey stick graph, a graph that showed radical warming trends in the latter half of the 20th century and basis of which much of Anthropogenic Global Warming’s science is based on. He has been partially cleared by PSU, his employing university.

Phil Jones reportedly seriously considered suicide after having been (rightfully) suspended from UEA. Recently he had an interview with the BBC, now dubbed “An Inconvenient Interview” by critics, in which he admits he “lost” some key data that would prove his vaunted “hockey stick graph” correct. Therefore, the graph is now considered dubious at best. During this interview, he also admitted that this apparent period of global warming may not be unprecedented, and in fact, the not-often-spoken-of Medieval Warming Period may have been warmer than the assumed Anthropogenic Warming Period now. This, by definition, makes his hockey stick graph no longer dubious, but incorrect, and therefore null and void. He also conceded that, in the past 15 years, there has been no “statistically significant global warming.” Oops. Oh, and on a note not related to Jones himself; that International Panel on Climate Change in 2007? A lie. Well, maybe not so much a lie as an assumption. But you know what happens when you assume, right?

Have the scientists who spoke out against Anthropogenic Global Warming been vindicated? Nope. John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, spoke out against what he saw as a conspiracy a few years ago. Others scientists have been just as critical. They spoke, but hardly anyone covered them; the media was disinterested; these scientists are still considered fringe.

But thankfully to far less people now.

So the “scientific consensus” of Anthropomorphic Global Warming is dead, right? It has dissolved in the midst of the implosion of their falsified data, right? Hardly. Scientific American and NASA are just a couple of examples of those who have seen the recent news and ignored it. It’s akin to giving the world absolute concrete proof that, for example, God doesn’t exist. Jews, Christians, Muslims and all around believers in a Creative Prime Mover would go crazy attempting to explain their faith as reasonable in the light of damning new evidence. The reaction of AGW proponents is identical to religious fervor, the very thing many (but not all) in the scientific community abhor and disdain. To quote Rich Lowry of the New York Post: “A funny thing happened to this “consensus” on the way to its inevitable triumph, though: Its propagators have been forced to admit fallibility.”

Does this mean that Anthropogenic Global Warming is invariably false? No, it does not. What it does mean, however, is that its proponents did not believe their science was invariably true. So they cut corners. They falsified data. They demonized their critics. They lied. This is not the first time scientists have lied in order to prove the validity of a theory that was not beyond repute. Isaac Newton purportedly did it, and countless other scientists and researchers have, too. We would be wise to remember that in future; scientific law may be infallible, but those who practice it are not. They’re sadly all too human.

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