Thursday, 8 October 2009

What I hate about climate "debate"

In a word. Strawmen. Making up a statement or claim by an opponent so you can knock it down. One which is a popular target for "debunking" is a strawman that a climate scientist (specialising in oceanography) and contributor to the IPCC, Mojib Latif, was now forecasting a decade or two of falling average global temperatures. The usual suspects and others are no all abuzz pointing out how Mojib Latif has not made any such predictions.

Let's get one thing straight first. There appears to be different reporting of Latif's comments in the media and across the interwebby. Some indeed suggesting that he made a "prediction" of cooling. I am happy enough that he did not make a prediction, but made a hypothetical along the lines; "if there was a cooling, and I don't think that is impossible".

A journalist called George Will is a particular target of this manufactured argument. He is thoroughly disliked by a large proportion of the Dangerous Climate Change lobby because he takes an opposing view. How distasteful. But regardless of whether Mojib was making prediction of or not, this was never the issue. Look at what George will wrote. Verbatim:

The Times says "a short-term trend gives ammunition to skeptics of climate change." Actually, what makes skeptics skeptical is the accumulating evidence that theories predicting catastrophe from man-made climate change are impervious to evidence. The theories are unfalsifiable, at least in the "short run." And the "short run" is defined as however many decades must pass until the evidence begins to fit the hypotheses.

George Will

Cooling Down the Cassandras

This isn't written in ancient sanskrit. It is pretty plain English. The point is not what anyone is or is not forecasing - including Mojib Latif - but the apparent impossibility that any data might falisfy the DCC hypothesis. It clearly says what skeptics have difficulty with is the way nothing (even a hypothetical two decades of cooling) would still not falsify a theory of global warming.

That is what skeptics are getting increasingly frustrated with. The proponents of the DCC hypothesis would advance their standing in the eyes of skeptics immeasurably if they began drawing some clear lines in the sand, which if they are truly scientists they should do. Does Latif imply that no amount of cooling would falisify the DCC hypothesis? His quote doesn't say that wouldn't be they case, he just leaves it at "cooling would not falsify".

My question for any such climate scientists would be; what outcomes or data are you looking for that would falsify parts of the DCC hypothesis?

An answer of "none", leaves me in no doubt that we aren't talking science. And that is the answer skeptics are getting at the moment.

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