Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

First off, let me say I'm an environmentalist.  I have seen pristine coral reefs ruined by careless humans.  I've choked on the air in places like Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.  I've seen unmentionable things washing up on beaches, and surfed through things I'd rather forget.  I was in the water treatment business, and invented a cheaper way for industries to treat their own wastewater.  Currently, I'm working on an after-market automobile exhaust filter.  I even once dabbled in selling retail carbon credits!

That said, I'm a global warming agnostic.  Allow me to explain:  Unless I've done the "science" myself, as in the above examples, all I have to go by is secondhand science.  To rely on that, I need to be convinced that what I'm reading is in fact science.  So far, what I've seen on the subject of global warming does not amount to science, but is rather  consensus.

Here's what author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Andromeda Strain, etc) had to say about the difference between science and consensus:        

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.
We've seen this movie before.  The exact same thing happened in the medical field with heart disease and diet.  Just like the global warming debate today, there was a time during the heart disease debate when the problem was believed to be so serious that there wasn't sufficient time to do real science.  Instead, we were given a consensus opinion and  told that the science was settled.  It turned out that was a disaster.

We were told, for instance, that fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol were causing heart disease.  The science was settled they said.  The federal government began issuing reports and official recommendations in 1977 based on this consensus opinion.  They have stuck to their guns on this all the way to today.  Only one problem; the science on fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol disagrees with the consensus.  (If you’re interested in reading about this, a good place to start is Gary Taubes' “Good Calories, Bad Calories”)

Is the consensus also wrong about man-made global warming?  Time will tell.  All I know is the global warming consensus advocates are behaving exactly like the diet consensus advocates, and that speaks volumes. 


No comments:

Post a Comment