Is it reasonable to be a global warming skeptic?


#422

Hi Mulligan,

Chiming in with Luigi, the global warming hypothesis has not been sufficiently proved. In my opinion it is unreasonable to fashion public policy based the recommendations of the climate science establishment led by the IPCC. For the full story, see the 12 part series starting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcUkNYgscWA


#423

Hi LBN,

Regarding the carrot of fame…

If the rank and file climate scientists were true to your vision of the typical scientist, then they would have exposed Mann’s flawed research, not a semi-retired mining analyst from Canada. They would have audited the US surface temperature stations and exposed their deficiencies, rather than relying on citizen volunteers. They would have exposed Hansen’s biased adjustments of the temp data. They would have criticized Mann for not releasing his computer code. They would have condemned Phil Jones for not releasing his data. They would have insisted that the IPCC clean up its act and adopt the reforms recommended by the Interacademy…

Getting back to my favorite whipping-boy, Michael Mann, we know from the climate gate emails that his colleagues discussed among themselves how bad Mann’s research was. Yet they didn’t criticize him in public.

All this confirms that the community of scientists who contribute to the body of climate knowledge have failed us, bigly. Knowing participants in the scandals are the most culpable. Folks in the know who did and said nothing also share in the blame. The vast silent majority of scientists share in the blame to the extent of their knowledge and freedom to act. I imagine a good portion of them learned from the examples of the few brave heretics who got squashed by the establishment for speaking out. Sometimes it is more about avoiding the stick rather than pursuing the carrot.


#424

Your argument is circular. But apparently you don’t see that, so let me explain in detail.

You initially claimed climate science is corrupt. I claimed it is not corrupt. To support my claim I cited the desire for fame, which has driven scientists throughout the ages, makes it more likely that scientists would contradict a widely-held belief if they thought it would make them famous.

Now here is where your argument gets circular. You refute my argument by saying that fame is not such a big motivation for scientists, because if it was, they would have reported on all the corruption in climate science, which there surely is. That is your argument. Do you see the circularity yet? You have to assume climate science is corrupt in order to discredit my argument. And discrediting my argument is how you are supporting your argument, which is that climate science is corrupt. Now do you see it? Let me repeat, you have to assume climate science is corrupt in order to prove climate science is corrupt. That is certainly circular. You can’t assume the thing you are trying to prove in order to prove that thing, no matter how strongly you believe that thing is true. It is just circular.

Now if you have any non-circular refutation of my “fame” observation, I would be happy to see it.


#425

You are highlighting an ineffective stick. In my “fame” posting I gave an example of a real stick that is of much more concern to scientists. That is the risk of being exposed as a scientific fraud. The example I gave was the team that initially announced they had observed cold fusion, only to find out that their instrumentation was actually responding to some electrical noise from a nearby elevator. No amount of “squashing” by establishment people compares with the disgrace of being remembered for that big boo-boo.


#426

Hi LBN,

Based on reasons X,Y, and Z, I conclude that climate science is corrupt.

You argue that it isn’t possible that climate science is corrupt because scientists’ inherent qualities, including the desire for fame, would expose faulty research, fraud, etc., and thus prevent the field from becoming corrupt. Basically you are saying that science isn’t corruptible.

And you say my argument is circular?

Your fame argument is testable. It can be refuted by pointing out specific instances where bad science, misconduct, etc. have occurred, which has been done. What you say is impossible has obviously happened.


#427

Rather than proposing the irrebuttable presumption that science is incorruptible, the proper way to argue this is to say X, Y, and Z do not–for whatever reasons–support the inference that establishment climate science is corrupt.


#428

But the premises that you use in your proof are not premises that are themselves proven. You are using one unproven claim to back up another unproven claim.

Do you dispute the claim that scientists throughout history have been driven by fame? Certainly there have been isolated incidents of fraud, but there has never been an instance where the majority of scientists in an entire field rejected the chance for fame and cooperated in a corruption. It takes more than citing one or two instances of questionable science to establish that fantastic scenario.

Remember, my fame argument is statistical. It cannot be refuted by pointing out specific instances. It can only be refuted by a statistic. To make the this clearer, if you made the claim that in most bird species, the male is more colorful than the female, I could cite the Brown-winged Kingfisher and the White-bellied Sea Eagle where the males and females are equally colorful, and your claim would still stand because it said “most species.” Similarly, I have claimed that most scientists are strongly motivated by fame and reputation. You have cited several instances where you think this rule is broken. Without getting into a discussion of whether those instances are indeed true, the claim still stands unrefuted that most scientists are motivated by fame and reputation. So the most you can support is the position that there are a few bad eggs. But you have done nothing to support the broad claim that a controlling majority of climate scientists are all corrupt.

That was not my proposition. My proposition was that the vast majority of scientists are not easily corruptible.


#429

But are they being corrupted if they focus on alarmist papers that will get funding, put food on the table?

If you are a Forestry expert or Zoologist, you won’t get funded to study what happens if the climate doesn’t change.
So instead you study the worst case scenario of RCP 8.5 with rapid warming, per the model projections. That proposal gets funded, and makes for juicy “what if” reading. These papers add to the hysteria but have zero bearing on likelihood of the warming actually happening.


#430

Now that is a slightly different claim than iggy was making. Here you are proposing that scientists can choose which area to study based on what can get funding. And that might be true. But it does not explain why a majority of scientists would produce fraudulent results upon doing that research. Doing so might help them in the very short run to put bread on the table. But I doubt if many of these scientists are that hard up for cash. And producing fraudulent results does nothing good for their reputation. If they know the results are fraudulent, they know the fraud will be discovered. And then their funding will dry up. So it is not a good long-term career strategy. So it does not seem to be very likely that a lot of them would risk it.


#431

I don’t think the majority of scientists are producing fraudulent results. It’s only a few scientists who initiate adjusting the temperature record, everyone else just takes it as an input into what they do. I think among this group there is evidence of collusion to hide contradictory evidence and tell a story, rather than just follow the science.

The Zoologist may in turn produce an alarmist report, but it’s not fraudulent since they state their assumptions and inputs.


#432

But that’s not how scientists behave. They don’t just take the word of the researchers who “adjusted” the temperature record. They question that too. They see the same news you do. They know about the claims. You still need to hypothesize a large number of scientist being either very incompetent or outright fraudulent.

The number of scientists needed to collude effectively is greater than the number of scientists one can easily believe are incompetent or corrupt.


#433

They are called ‘skeptics’ and ‘deniers’. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? They are not very popular, people seem to rely upon ad hominem rather than engage on the science.

As I’ve noted, if you are not a climate modeler, you are taking their projections as an input scenario into your separate field of expertise.


#434

You really think the number of scientists qualified to understand surface temperature modelling is that small?


#435

Hi LBN,

I said: Based on reasons X,Y, and Z, I conclude that climate science is corrupt.

My X, Y, and Z were short-hand for all the reasons I’ve given so far (scandals, fraud, bias, bad science). Are you saying none of them have been proved?


#436

Of course some scientists are motivated by fame. But history shows that fact is not sufficient to prevent pathological science from developing and becoming dominant. See Crichton’s essay here: http://www.michaelcrichton.com/why-politicized-science-is-dangerous/

Crichton goes on to cite another example: Lysenkoism.


#437

I would also add this observation. Someone can become famous for being a scientific revolutionary and bringing down the dominant paradigm. But one can also become famous for sounding the alarm about impending catastrophe. Jim Hansen comes to mind. His 1988 stage-crafted testimony before Congress brought him all kinds of fame, not to mention money and the opportunity to hang with blond bimbos like Daryl Hannah. Other scientists noticed, which contributed to overall bandwagon effect and no end of virtue signaling, “Me too”… And, of course, they all wanted in on the government funded gravy train.


#438

The response is obvious. Scientists who disagree are called ‘skeptics’ and ‘deniers’. Perhaps you’ve heard of them?

They are not very popular, even scientists like Mann and Hansen rely upon using the ‘denier’ ad hominem rather than engage on the science.


#439

That’s right. At least you haven’t proven them here.


#440

No, it is not reasonable to remain a climate change skeptic at this point.


#441

There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical about anything. With that said…

Not all climate scientists are “in cahoots” with radical “Global Warming” orgs nor are they all in cahoots with often-religious denier orgs.

But the general consensus is that it’s happening and mankind is driving most of it. The pics of the radical changes in glaciers during just my lifetime are pretty convincing. As a group, they are speeding up in their demise, one or two anecdotal cases aside.

So if you’re a global warming skeptic, I think you’re flatly wrong. But is it reasonable to be a skeptic? Sure!

(yes, yes. I know I’m getting in late)


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