Monday, March 27, 2006

The Witch Doctors

None of the predictions [put forth by enviromentalists who allege the anthropogenic cause of climate change (global warming)] is based on any kind of scientific experiment. Nor could they be. A scientific experiment would require a laboratory somewhere that contained two identical planets, Earth 1 and Earth 2. There would be just one difference between them. The human population of Earth 1 achieves an Industrial Revolution and rises to the level of energy use and standard of living of our own present-day Earth and its likely level of energy use within the next century. In contrast, the human population of Earth 2 fails to advance beyond the energy use of the Dark Ages or pre-industrial modern times. And then the scientists in the laboratory observe that the average temperature of Earth 1 comes to exceed the average temperature of Earth 2 by 4 degrees, and that of its Arctic region by 5 to 8 degrees, and that its sea level proceeds to rise by the number of feet described, while the sea level of Earth 2 remains unchanged.

This is not how such temperature and sea-level projections are arrived at. They are reached on the basis of combining various bits and pieces of actual scientific knowledge with various arbitrary assumptions, which combinations are then fed into computers and come out as the results of “computer models.” Different assumptions produce different results. The choice of which bits and pieces of scientific knowledge to include also produces different results.

The whole current debate/process is reminiscent of witch doctors urging primitive people to sacrifice their sheep and goats in order to mollify the wrath of the gods, today’s environmentalists and their shills in the media and academe repeatedly urge the people of the United States and the rest of the modern world to sacrifice their use of energy and their standard of living in order to avoid the wrath of the Earth and its atmosphere.



Jeff said...

I'm not by any stretch an expert, or even very skilled in logic, but I do believe that the author is using a false dilemma. It's either this two earth experiment or it's invalid, I don't find that sound logic. Since I have not taken the time to read any published studies of climate change, global warming, or whatever it's called, I've let go of my paranoid response, and am undecided on what the published data means (or even if it's true). The closest I've come to serious academic reading about it is Carl Sagan's Billions and Billions. I don't have my copy handy, but I recall that he was very careful to assert that the models were by no means conclusive, and no reputable scientist would state with any certainty that global warming was being caused by human activity, but suggest only that there may be a link. In science, there are many theories, and few laws. Attacking the credibility of the scientific method to refute those who misuse the generated information and ideas is I suspect, another fallacy.

Jeff said...

On what do you base your belief that climate change is not caused by human activity and is not a threat?

Wadical said...

Fred had a graph on his site on 3/21/06 in a post entitled "Global Warming History". I am definitly "challenged" on this subject and have no expertise to offer. But that graph seemed to indicate that the earth has been in a cycle of warming and cooling since it's creation. How then could anyone hypothesize that the cause for the present spike in temperature would be different than any previous spikes? Why would it not be reasonable to assume that a similar cooling would follow as has been throughout history?

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

"It's either this two earth experiment or it's invalid, I don't find that sound logic."
Riesman is only saying that the "enviormentalists" are asking (no, demanding) that major action be taken based not on data obtained by the scientific method but on the basis of computer models resulting from the input of ASSUMPTIONS.Read the entire article provided in my link.
Climate change may be a threat but there is not sufficient data for the conclusion to be reached that human actions can substantially change it.

Jeff said...

I did read the entire article, and shame on you for assuming I didn't. I'm not that interested or swayed by computer models, especially if I don't understand the data they are based on. But I feel the article is like the environmentalist claims: based on emotional appeal. As I stated, he appears to be attacking the scientific method to refute those who misuse the information.

I'm still curious to hear what you're basing your belief on. If it's on articles like this, and graphs like what Rose posted on Fred's blog, I can't imagine why you'd think those are more credible than any other source.

That article was not science. It's interesting that he is a professor of economics, not the kind of expert whose opinion I would look to for information on global warming. I also don't put much stock in a NY Times article. Media rarely report faithfully on scientific studies. I assert that the article contains fallacies. I also agree that the alarmist environmentalists are not faithfully reporting the scientific findings. Everybody has an agenda. I'm trying to make mine, what is the truth the best we can perceive it?

I attempted to read an ipcc report, but it's long and heady, and I ran out of steam. (see my post at

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

"... he appears to be attacking the scientific method to refute those who misuse the information."

He attacks the reliance on computer models and describes the true scientific method by the use of "earth 1 and earth 2" method.

"I also don't put much stock in a NY Times article."

Nor do I. Reisman's article was not in the NY Times. What fallacies were in Reisman's article?

Jeff said...

"What fallacies were in Reisman's article?"

Please reread my first comment to this post. You'll find my fallacy claim in the first sentence.