Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Myth of "Settled" Climate Science

Science is, by its very nature, a process of continual learning.

Palentologists are still trying to figure out dinosaurs, even with the benefit of a pretty extensive fossil record. In the past, they reassembled bones in an effort to illustrate their appearance. In the past few decades, they have taken those assemblies apart and reassembled them and the picture became very different. First, they were big lizards, then, no they weren't lizards at all. They were more closely related to birds. In the past 30-40 years, our understanding of dinosaurs has radically changed and there is still a great deal that we still do not understand.

"Climate Science" is an incredibly new field of study. Back in the 70s, after a string of particularly harsh winters, we were being told that we may well be on th verge of a new Ice Age.
Many of you are too young to remember, but in 1975 our government pushed "the coming ice age."

Random House dutifully printed "THE WEATHER CONSPIRACY … coming of the New Ice Age." This may be the only book ever written by 18 authors. All 18 lived just a short sled ride from Washington, D.C. Newsweek fell in line and did a cover issue warning us of global cooling on April 28, 1975. And The New York Times, Aug. 14, 1976, reported "many signs that Earth may be headed for another ice age."

OK, you say, that's media. But what did our rational scientists say?

In 1974, the National Science Board announced: "During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade. Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end…leading into the next ice age."

Now, scarcely 3 decades later, that theory has been reversed 180 degrees. Were the scientists wrong then, or are they wrong now?

We have something like a century or so of hard climate data, and the Earth is some 4.5 billion years old. That, coupled with the fact that the Earth was undergoing radical changes in climate, prior to the arrival of man, makes the AGW theory tenuous, at best

From the same article:
While scientists march to the drumbeat of grant money, at least trees don't lie. Their growth rings show what's happened no matter which philosophy is in power. Tree rings show a mini ice age in Europe about the time Stradivarius crafted his violins. Chilled Alpine Spruce gave him tighter wood so the instruments sang with a new purity. But England had to give up the wines that the Romans cultivated while our globe cooled, switching from grapes to colder weather grains and learning to take comfort with beer, whisky and ales.

Yet many centuries earlier, during a global warming, Greenland was green. And so it stayed and was settled by Vikings for generations until global cooling came along. Leif Ericsson even made it to Newfoundland. His shallow draft boats, perfect for sailing and rowing up rivers to conquer villages, wouldn't have stood a chance against a baby iceberg.

Those sustained temperature swings, all before the evil economic benefits of oil consumption, suggest there are factors at work besides humans.

No rational person can deny the value of "science", on the other hand, how can any rational scientist honestly say the matter is "settled", when the area of study is still in it's infancy?

Medical science, perhaps one of the oldest of the scientific disciplines, is still fairly new and undergoes radical changes on an almost daily basis. One need only look at medical practices 50-60 years ago versus those of today to see the dark ages that was once called "medical science". 50 years ago, the discoverer of the lobotomy won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, today; it is a practice that is shunned by the medical community.

Now, we're told that "the science is settled". No, science is never "settled", science is a journey, not a destination. The nature of science is one of continual learning; placing blocks of knowledge upon blocks of knowledge in an effort to build a better understanding. Often, new discoveries are made that force the removal of some of those blocks thus forcing us to reconsider that understanding and begin again.

"Scientists" who do not understand, or who are unwilling to accept this basic precept of the discipline are not scientists at all; they are either intellectual whores or charlatans.

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