Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus

0 views
Skip to first unread message

James

unread,
Dec 11, 2004, 10:04:56 PM12/11/04
to

Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus

By Roy Spencer Published 12/07/2004


The arguments for anthropogenic climate change often take the form of
"we know it is happening, therefore we need to do something about it now".
While appealing to the uncritical thinker, it implies two important but
unstated assumptions: 1) human induced climate change of any amount is very
bad, and 2) public policy should be changed to fix it, regardless of the
cost.


For instance, Naomi Oreskes introduces her recent editorial in Science
with:

"Policy-makers and the media, particularly in the United States,
frequently assert that climate science is highly uncertain. Some have used
this as an argument against adopting strong measures to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions."

She then goes on to list all of the official scientific bodies who
have produced statements or reports on the reality of global warming. Thus,
elements of both "climate change of any amount is bad", and "we need to do
something about it" can be gleaned from her first two statements.

Oreskes puts great emphasis on something called the "consensus
position" on climate change. While her arguments would seem to support the
view that the consensus refers to "serious global warming", a careful
reading reveals that it really refers to the rather benign (and even
meaningless) conclusion that humans are influencing climate. Climate
scientists will tell you that everything influences the climate, so what we
really should be asking is: how much are humans influencing the climate, and
is there anything we can and should do about it?

Specifically, Oreskes notes a consensus statement from the 2001 report
from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

"Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric
constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the
observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the
increase in greenhouse gas concentrations".

Note that "most" and "likely.due to" are qualitative terms that
reflect that fact that we really have little knowledge of whether the
climate would have changed in substantially the same way without human
influence during that 50 year period. There have been only a very few
multi-decadal warming and cooling periods in the last 100 years, and it
seems to be an overly vindictive view of nature to attribute the cooling
periods to natural variability, while blaming the warming periods on humans.
Climate models that are now purportedly able to mimic these few warming and
cooling periods have so many adjustable parameters, and so few historical
events to explain, that the resulting correlations could well be accidental
rather than physical.

It is unfortunate, and causes confusion, that "global warming" has
taken on a meaning in most peoples' minds that includes elements such as
extreme, devastating, calamitous. in other words, bad by definition. The
most frequent question I'm asked about climate change is, "Do you believe in
global warming"? I am always forced to answer with a question: "What do you
mean by global warming?". It is quite plausible that some portion of the 1
deg. F warming in the last 50 to 100 years is due to increasing
concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases. But since climate science has
still meager understanding of how much of this warming is natural (for
instance, the multi-decadal warming trend that ended around 1940),
scientists are prone to downplaying uncertainties, and over-emphasizing what
they do understand: that increasing levels of carbon dioxide should cause
warming. Virtually everyone agrees that more carbon dioxide causes a warming
tendency -- the real question is, how will the climate system respond?

For instance, the warming due to just carbon dioxide increases is
predicted by climate models to be approximately doubled by increasing levels
of water vapor, the atmosphere's primary greenhouse gas. But what determines
the level of water vapor in the atmosphere? It is a balance between (1)
evaporation from the surface, and (2) removal by precipitation systems.
Since science doesn't yet understand how precipitation systems will respond
to a warming tendency (for instance, warmer tropical systems are known
qualitatively to be more efficient at removing water vapor than cooler
high-latitude systems), it has virtually ignored research related to the
efficiency of precipitation systems, and has instead emphasized the
"increased evaporation" part of the equation. Quantitative knowledge of this
"positive water vapor feedback" effect thus requires knowledge that we
currently do not have. The effects of clouds are even more uncertain. What
we do know, though, is that all of the weather that makes up climate is
working with one goal: to get rid of excess heat.

The "new ice age" scare of the 1970's should teach us something about
statements coming from scientific bodies: that even in scientific reports,
scientists sometimes get a little carried away with their theories. This
explains in part why scientists' pronouncements are not blindly accepted by
the public anymore. Additionally, the most authoritative reports, produced
by the IPCC, have been notorious for downplaying or outright ignoring
uncertainties in their summaries for policymakers (the only part a
congressional staffer is likely to read). Combined with the biased influence
of the principals leading the IPCC report process, and the UN's own agenda
for future political influence ("Agenda 21"), it is easy to see how the
scientific message can get distorted and misused.

In her Science editorial, Ms. Oreskes also makes a curious claim about
past research on "climate change": that of 928 climate research paper
abstracts published from 1993-2003, none rejected the consensus view on
climate change. While I doubt that I've read this many climate change
papers, I do have several in my office that specifically state that
quantitative estimates of global warming are not possible without further
knowledge of certain elements of the climate system (e.g. Renno, Emanuel,
and Stone, 1994; Grabowski, 2000) or that current climate models are overly
sensitive (e.g. Hu, Oglesby, and Saltzman, 2000). And remember, the
consensus view Oreskes refers to is so qualitative and innocuous that few
scientists would dispute it anyway.

Furthermore, also unstated by Oreskes is the widespread practice by
U.S. funding agencies of only funding research that implicitly accepts the
putative global warming paradigm. Research funds from Congress depend on
threats to the populace, and as long as there are possible climate
mechanisms that could make global warming worse, funding is enhanced. I am
not suggesting widespread deceit or questionable motives -- only that public
funds are usually made available to study problems, not non-problems. I
agree that the possibility of significant global warming alone is sufficient
justification to study it. But as a result of the phrasing of the
governmental announcements for research funds availability, most published
research is biased toward a myriad of possible destabilizing processes in
the climate system. There is little practical difference (but great
perceived difference) between the research findings phrased "mechanism X
could possibly lead to serious global warming" and "mechanism X will
probably not lead to serious global warming". And guess which phrasing is
more interesting to a reporter?

On the policy side, the unstated, but strongly implied, assumption by
Oreskes that something should be done about global warming veers entirely
outside the bounds of science. She alludes to the presumably sinister
motives of "corporations who might be adversely affected" by controls on the
production of carbon dioxide, without mentioning that those corporations
will not pay the bulk of the cost -- the public will. And it's not just big
corporations that are the emitters. We all are, through our consumption of
everything that requires energy to produce.

While the example of phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons to prevent
ozone depletion is sometimes cited as an example of how we can reduce our
production of carbon dioxide, the two issues are worlds apart from a policy
standpoint. Cheap energy is the lifeblood of economies. Until new and
substantial sources of energy are found (or accepted -- e.g. nuclear) that
do not produce greenhouse gases, there is very little we can do about the
problem. Feel-good measures like the Kyoto Protocol or the McCain-Lieberman
legislation, while painful enough for economies, barely scratch the surface
of what is needed to prevent future warming, no matter what prediction of
future warming you believe. Indeed, if reducing the production of carbon
dioxide were easy, or economically neutral, it would already have been done.

Only the strong economies of the world can afford to fund research
into finding these new sources of energy, and shooting ourselves in the
economic foot with carbon legislation might not be the most prudent path to
take. Policy changes related to carbon dioxide will necessarily have to
trade off many benefits and risks. Even though I am a scientist, I'm
particularly thankful that scientists are not allowed to decide public
policy.

"Consensus" among scientists is not definitive, and some have even
argued that in science it is meaningless or counterproductive. After all,
even scientific "laws" have been disproved in the past (e.g. the Law of
Parity in nuclear physics). Global warming is a process that can not be
measured in controlled lab experiments, and so in many respects it can not
be tested or falsified in the traditional scientific sense. Nevertheless,
I'm willing to admit that in the policymakers' realm, scientific consensus
might have some limited value. But let's be honest about what that consensus
refers to: that "humans influence the climate". Not that "global warming is
a serious threat to mankind".

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Dec 12, 2004, 5:26:22 AM12/12/04
to
James <jra...@dcr.net> wrote:

> Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus
> By Roy Spencer Published 12/07/2004

Sounds good. But will he be...?

> The arguments for anthropogenic climate change often take the form of
>"we know it is happening, therefore we need to do something about it now".

A poor start. As Spencer knows, (especially cos thats his bit from
a sci POV) its is-the-world-warming (yes it is).

>While appealing to the uncritical thinker, it implies two important but
>unstated assumptions: 1) human induced climate change of any amount is very
>bad, and 2) public policy should be changed to fix it, regardless of the
>cost.

> For instance, Naomi Oreskes introduces her recent editorial in Science
>with:

> "Policy-makers and the media, particularly in the United States,
>frequently assert that climate science is highly uncertain. Some have used
>this as an argument against adopting strong measures to reduce greenhouse
>gas emissions."

Spencer is doing his best to muddle up the argument (presumably because
he loses if the argument remains clear).

Oreskes says:

The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by
the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental
Programme, IPCC's purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science
as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of
peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most
recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of
scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human
activities: "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of

atmospheric constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ...
[M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to

have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations" [p. 21 in (4)].

You'll find it at:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

> She then goes on to list all of the official scientific bodies who
>have produced statements or reports on the reality of global warming.

Ys.

>Thus,
>elements of both "climate change of any amount is bad", and "we need to do
>something about it" can be gleaned from her first two statements.

No.

> Oreskes puts great emphasis on something called the "consensus
>position" on climate change. While her arguments would seem to support the
>view that the consensus refers to "serious global warming", a careful
>reading reveals that it really refers to the rather benign (and even
>meaningless) conclusion that humans are influencing climate. Climate
>scientists will tell you that everything influences the climate, so what we
>really should be asking is: how much are humans influencing the climate, and
>is there anything we can and should do about it?

At this point Spencer has fallen right over the edge from being a srerious
scientist into a pure propagandist. Spencer is very well aware that the
consensus is the IPCC consensus is the WG I consensus.

> Specifically, Oreskes notes a consensus statement from the 2001 report
>from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

> "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric
>constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the
>observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the
>increase in greenhouse gas concentrations".

Well done Roy you've found that bit.

> Note that "most" and "likely.due to" are qualitative terms that

You're lying Roy. AS you know well, the IPCC quantify these terms, and
"likely" means 66-90% chance.

>reflect that fact that we really have little knowledge of whether the
>climate would have changed in substantially the same way without human
>influence during that 50 year period.

Again, lies. This is the std septic when-you've-lost-the-argument-
emphasise-the-uncertainties approach.

>There have been only a very few
>multi-decadal warming and cooling periods in the last 100 years, and it
>seems to be an overly vindictive view of nature to attribute the cooling
>periods to natural variability, while blaming the warming periods on humans.

This is hopeless. Has he really not read any of the literature? See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attribution_of_recent_climate_change

for some of it.

>Climate models that are now purportedly able to mimic these few warming and
>cooling periods have so many adjustable parameters, and so few historical
>events to explain, that the resulting correlations could well be accidental
>rather than physical.

This too is lies. Spencer is now singing from Singers hymnsheet, which is sad.

> It is unfortunate, and causes confusion, that "global warming" has
>taken on a meaning in most peoples' minds that includes elements such as
>extreme, devastating, calamitous.

Here at last I agree with him.

> The "new ice age" scare of the 1970's should teach us...

To actually read the f*ck*ng literature before spouting off nonsense. See

http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage

> In her Science editorial, Ms. Oreskes also makes a curious claim about
>past research on "climate change": that of 928 climate research paper
>abstracts published from 1993-2003, none rejected the consensus view on
>climate change. While I doubt that I've read this many climate change
>papers, I do have several in my office that specifically state that
>quantitative estimates of global warming are not possible without further
>knowledge of certain elements of the climate system (e.g. Renno, Emanuel,
>and Stone, 1994; Grabowski, 2000) or that current climate models are overly
>sensitive (e.g. Hu, Oglesby, and Saltzman, 2000).

At last a substantive point, maybe. 3 papers to look at.

> Furthermore, also unstated by Oreskes is the widespread practice by
>U.S. funding agencies of only funding research that implicitly accepts the
>putative global warming paradigm.

And unstated by Spencer is the obvious heavy pressure by the Bush administration
to minimise the problem.

> While the example of phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons to prevent
>ozone depletion is sometimes cited as an example of how we can reduce our
>production of carbon dioxide,

??? Its usually cited as an example of how people whinged endlessly that it
would be immensely expensive and destroy the economy... but wasn't and didn't.

-W.

--
William M Connolley | w...@bas.ac.uk | http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/met/wmc/
Climate Modeller, British Antarctic Survey | Disclaimer: I speak for myself
I'm a .signature virus! copy me into your .signature file & help me spread!

James Annan

unread,
Dec 12, 2004, 7:24:49 AM12/12/04
to
James wrote:

> It is quite plausible that some portion of the 1
> deg. F warming in the last 50 to 100 years is due to increasing
> concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases. But since climate science has
> still meager understanding of how much of this warming is natural (for
> instance, the multi-decadal warming trend that ended around 1940),

I think a more accurate representation of reality would be that man-mad
GHGs would already have generated MORE than 1F of warming, with the same
again guaranteed in the future even if CO2 emissions stopped tomorrow,
were it not for the fact that the recent GHG-induced warming has been
partially offset by unusually high volcanic activity and the increase in
man-made sulphate aerosols.

James
--
If I have seen further than others, it is
by treading on the toes of giants.
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/

Eric Swanson

unread,
Dec 12, 2004, 7:17:56 PM12/12/04
to
In article <KzOud.178$FG5...@fe39.usenetserver.com>, jra...@dcr.net says...

>
>
> Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus
>
> By Roy Spencer Published 12/07/2004

Published on TechCentral Station
<http://www.techcentralstation.com/120704G.html>

[cut - see WMC's comments]

> Only the strong economies of the world can afford to fund research
>into finding these new sources of energy, and shooting ourselves in the
>economic foot with carbon legislation might not be the most prudent path to
>take. Policy changes related to carbon dioxide will necessarily have to
>trade off many benefits and risks. Even though I am a scientist, I'm
>particularly thankful that scientists are not allowed to decide public
>policy.

If Spencer is not interested in influencing the public policy, why does he
write this kind of stuff for a group that IS actively trying to influence
public policy?? Besides, research into "new" sources of energy is not
needed, for the beginning. We already know how to do lots of things in ways
that use much less energy than is currently the norm. For example, there
are many compact florescent lights available which produce the same light
as the usual incandescent bulb, while useing oly 1/3 as much electricity.
They are on the shelves of WalMart, Lowes and Home Depot. New refrigerators
are much more efficient than ones built a decade ago. Again, you can buy one
at Sears or Lowes, as I just did. The Energy-Star compliant model is said to
use less than 450 kwh of electricity per year.

> "Consensus" among scientists is not definitive, and some have even
>argued that in science it is meaningless or counterproductive. After all,
>even scientific "laws" have been disproved in the past (e.g. the Law of
>Parity in nuclear physics). Global warming is a process that can not be
>measured in controlled lab experiments, and so in many respects it can not
>be tested or falsified in the traditional scientific sense. Nevertheless,
>I'm willing to admit that in the policymakers' realm, scientific consensus
>might have some limited value. But let's be honest about what that consensus
>refers to: that "humans influence the climate". Not that "global warming is
>a serious threat to mankind".


James, with his usual lack of interest in the science, cut the references.

Here they are.:

Grabowski, W.W., 2000: Cloud microphysics and the tropical climate:
Cloud-resolving model perspective. J. Climate, 13, 2306-2322.

Hu, H., R.J. Oglesby, and B. Saltzman, 2000: The relationship between
atmospheric water vapor and temperature in simulations of climate change.
Geophys. Res. Letters, Vol. 27, No. 21, 3513-3516.

Renno, N.O., K. A. Emanuel, and P.H. Stone, 1994: Radiative-convective model
with an explicit hydrologic cycle 1. Formulation and sensitivity to model
parameters. J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 99, No. D7, 14,429-14,441.

--
Eric Swanson --- E-mail address: e_swanson(at)skybest.com :-)
--------------------------------------------------------------

w...@bas.ac.uk

unread,
Dec 13, 2004, 5:42:37 AM12/13/04
to
James <jra...@dcr.net> wrote:
> Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus
> By Roy Spencer Published 12/07/2004

> In her Science editorial, Ms. Oreskes also makes a curious claim about


>past research on "climate change": that of 928 climate research paper
>abstracts published from 1993-2003, none rejected the consensus view on
>climate change. While I doubt that I've read this many climate change
>papers, I do have several in my office that specifically state that
>quantitative estimates of global warming are not possible without further
>knowledge of certain elements of the climate system (e.g. Renno, Emanuel,
>and Stone, 1994; Grabowski, 2000) or that current climate models are overly
>sensitive (e.g. Hu, Oglesby, and Saltzman, 2000). And remember, the
>consensus view Oreskes refers to is so qualitative and innocuous that few
>scientists would dispute it anyway.

Thanks for ES for providing the refs that J didn't bother with. RS is
being careless of deceptive or whatever.

Grabowski: "This paper discusses the role cloud microphysics play
in the tropical climate. It is argued that this problem can best be studied
within the context of a cloud-resolving model because of complicated
interactions among cloud dynamics, cloud microphysics, radiative
processes, and surface processes...".

Not obviously consensus busting. But,
rather more importantly *it doesn't have climate change as a keyword* so
wouldn't be in the O study.

Renno: "A hydrological cycle is explicitly included in a one-dimensional
radiative-convective equilibrium model which is coupled to a ''swamp''
surface and tested with various cumulus convection schemes: the hard
and soft convective adjustment schemes, the Kuo scheme, the Goddard
Institute for Space Studies (GISS) (1974) model 1 scheme, the GISS (1983)
model 2 scheme, and the Emanuel scheme. The essential difference between
our model and other radiative-convective models is that in our model
the moisture profile (but not cloudiness) is interactively computed by
the cumulus convection scheme. This has a crucial influence on the
computation of the radiative fluxes throughout the atmosphere and
therefore on the model's sensitivities... The cumulus convection
schemes currently in use in GCMs bypass the microphysical processes
by making arbitrary moistening assumptions. We suggest that they are
inadequate for climate change studies."

Again, *doesn't include climate change as a keyword*. As to whether this
is consenus-breaking: if you just read the last sentence and ignore the
date (1994) you might think so. But in fact this is completely in line
with current GCMs so is in fact *supporting* the consensus of the TAR.

Hu: again, *doesn't include climate change as a keyword*. Thats 3 out of 3
that Spencer has failed on. Has he actually read the Oreskes paper
properly? Abstract doesn't seem to indicate any great excitement.

So, all in all, I'm not impressed by Spencer.

Lloyd Parker

unread,
Dec 13, 2004, 10:56:28 AM12/13/04
to
In article <KzOud.178$FG5...@fe39.usenetserver.com>,

"James" <jra...@dcr.net> wrote:
>
> Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus
>
> By Roy Spencer Published 12/07/2004

> "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of atmospheric


>constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the
>observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the
>increase in greenhouse gas concentrations".
>
>
>
> Note that "most" and "likely.due to" are qualitative terms that
>reflect that fact that we really have little knowledge of whether the
>climate would have changed in substantially the same way without human
>influence during that 50 year period.


That's not so. In science, probabilities are all you can talk about
without doing controlled experiments. "In all likelihood" the earth will
still be orbiting the sun tomorrow. "In all likelihood" gravity will still
work tomorrow. "In all likelihood" pi is the same value in another galaxy.

Actually it seems they're just not accepted by the right-wing fringe.

> Additionally, the most authoritative reports, produced
>by the IPCC, have been notorious for downplaying or outright ignoring
>uncertainties in their summaries for policymakers (the only part a
>congressional staffer is likely to read). Combined with the biased
influence
>of the principals leading the IPCC report process,


Beam in own eye.

>and the UN's own agenda
>for future political influence ("Agenda 21"),

Beam in own eye.

> it is easy to see how the
>scientific message can get distorted and misused.
>
>
>
> In her Science editorial, Ms. Oreskes also makes a curious claim
about
>past research on "climate change": that of 928 climate research paper
>abstracts published from 1993-2003, none rejected the consensus view on
>climate change. While I doubt that I've read this many climate change
>papers, I do have several in my office that specifically state that
>quantitative estimates of global warming are not possible without further
>knowledge of certain elements of the climate system (e.g. Renno, Emanuel,
>and Stone, 1994; Grabowski, 2000) or that current climate models are
overly
>sensitive (e.g. Hu, Oglesby, and Saltzman, 2000). And remember, the
>consensus view Oreskes refers to is so qualitative and innocuous that few
>scientists would dispute it anyway.

Saying that you don't completely understand something is not the same thing
as saying you don't know if the something is happening. We don't
completely understand gravity, for example, but few dispute it's real.

>
>
>
> Furthermore, also unstated by Oreskes is the widespread practice by
>U.S. funding agencies of only funding research that implicitly accepts the
>putative global warming paradigm.

And the Republicans in power for the past 4 years will only fund research
that shows GW is real?


>Research funds from Congress depend on
>threats to the populace, and as long as there are possible climate
>mechanisms that could make global warming worse, funding is enhanced.


No, they can always spend the money on more aquariums in Iowa.

> I am
>not suggesting widespread deceit or questionable motives -- only that
public
>funds are usually made available to study problems, not non-problems. I
>agree that the possibility of significant global warming alone is
sufficient
>justification to study it. But as a result of the phrasing of the
>governmental announcements for research funds availability, most published
>research is biased toward a myriad of possible destabilizing processes in
>the climate system. There is little practical difference (but great
>perceived difference) between the research findings phrased "mechanism X
>could possibly lead to serious global warming" and "mechanism X will
>probably not lead to serious global warming". And guess which phrasing is
>more interesting to a reporter?
>
>
>
> On the policy side, the unstated, but strongly implied, assumption
by
>Oreskes that something should be done about global warming veers entirely
>outside the bounds of science. She alludes to the presumably sinister
>motives of "corporations who might be adversely affected" by controls on
the
>production of carbon dioxide, without mentioning that those corporations
>will not pay the bulk of the cost -- the public will.

The tired old right-wing argument that corporations don't pay taxes.


>And it's not just big
>corporations that are the emitters. We all are, through our consumption of
>everything that requires energy to produce.
>
>
>
> While the example of phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons to prevent
>ozone depletion is sometimes cited as an example of how we can reduce our
>production of carbon dioxide, the two issues are worlds apart from a
policy
>standpoint. Cheap energy is the lifeblood of economies.

It's more expensive in Europe and most of their countries have higher
standards of living.


>Until new and
>substantial sources of energy are found (or accepted -- e.g. nuclear) that
>do not produce greenhouse gases, there is very little we can do about the
>problem. Feel-good measures like the Kyoto Protocol or the
McCain-Lieberman
>legislation, while painful enough for economies, barely scratch the
surface
>of what is needed to prevent future warming, no matter what prediction of
>future warming you believe. Indeed, if reducing the production of carbon
>dioxide were easy, or economically neutral, it would already have been
done.
>
>
>
> Only the strong economies of the world can afford to fund research
>into finding these new sources of energy, and shooting ourselves in the
>economic foot with carbon legislation might not be the most prudent path
to
>take. Policy changes related to carbon dioxide will necessarily have to
>trade off many benefits and risks. Even though I am a scientist, I'm
>particularly thankful that scientists are not allowed to decide public
>policy.

Yes, because the politicians and the lobbyists have the best interests of
all of us in mind, right?

>
>
>
> "Consensus" among scientists is not definitive, and some have even
>argued that in science it is meaningless or counterproductive.


Especially those on the losing side.

>After all,
>even scientific "laws" have been disproved in the past (e.g. the Law of
>Parity in nuclear physics).

But only by data. Come back when you have some.


>Global warming is a process that can not be
>measured in controlled lab experiments,


Neither can the Big Bang, Black Holes, lots of aspects of quantum theory,
and lots of biology.

>and so in many respects it can not
>be tested or falsified in the traditional scientific sense.

You can do it like you do in physics or biology where you can't always do
controlled experiments either -- you collect data.

James

unread,
Dec 13, 2004, 9:31:54 PM12/13/04
to

"Lloyd Parker" <lpa...@NOSPAMemory.edu> wrote in message
news:cpkvnj$bjc$1...@puck.cc.emory.edu...

> In article <KzOud.178$FG5...@fe39.usenetserver.com>,
> "James" <jra...@dcr.net> wrote:
> >
> > Let's Be Honest About the Real Consensus
> >
> > By Roy Spencer Published 12/07/2004
>
> > "Human activities ... are modifying the concentration of
atmospheric
> >constituents ... that absorb or scatter radiant energy. ... [M]ost of the
> >observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the
> >increase in greenhouse gas concentrations".
> >
> >
> >
> > Note that "most" and "likely.due to" are qualitative terms that
> >reflect that fact that we really have little knowledge of whether the
> >climate would have changed in substantially the same way without human
> >influence during that 50 year period.
>
>
> That's not so. In science, probabilities are all you can talk about
> without doing controlled experiments. "In all likelihood" the earth will
> still be orbiting the sun tomorrow. "In all likelihood" gravity will
still
> work tomorrow. "In all likelihood" pi is the same value in another
galaxy.
>

Ahh, the last refuge of uncertainty. Splitting hairs.


Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages