Some Inconvenient Questions about ‘Climate Change’

By August 3, 2013Other

I’ve mentioned The Pointman before, and his most recent post asks 32 questions that, he says, deeply irritate him — because the orthodox never provide good answers. As he puts it, the ‘standard responses to any criticism of the theory of global warming is that unless the person is a climate scientist themselves, the point being made is from a position of ignorance and can therefore be ignored.’ I’ve encountered a lot of that myself.

Well, Pointman goes on to set out his questions, some of which have a rhetorical flavour. I share his irritation, too, and I thought I would pick out some of the questions that he poses, and offer the response that seems to me to be indicated. My response is in bold.

(1) Why is it that every one of the cockups and blunders we uncover in their papers always err towards a warmer global climate? Old temperature data are indeed commonly revised, and to the best of my knowledge the outcome after the revision is a steeper rise in temperature. On the face of it seems unlikely that this should happen so frequently. You would think some revisions at least ought to point downwards.

(2) Why do they persistently withhold the data on which their conclusions are based? The ordinary reader is told neither why the upward revision has occurred has occurred nor shown the data.

(3) Why do they, in their own words, hide behind Freedom of Information laws, as a reason to keep such data hidden? This is an allusion mostly to the Climategate fuss, but in general the orthodox have never been interested in sharing their data. I would have to say that in many areas of research people like to hang on to their data until they feel they have squeezed the last drop of value from them.

(4) Why are they so vague about the exact methods used on the data to derive their results? Repeating the experiment by a new experimenter is a standard test of the virtue of the claim made by the researcher. The orthodox are most reluctant to engage in this sort of ordinary verification, and again without real explanation.

(5) Why do all their computer climate models run hot? That is, why do the models seem always to predict a higher temperature than that indicated later by observation? We don’t know the answer, but we do know that the standard defence from the orthodox is to produce a new external explanation — aerosols from China and India, or the added temperature disappearing into the deep ocean, and so on. 

(6) Why are they telling each other to delete emails to circumvent Freedom of Information requests? Another Climategate reference, as is the case with the next two questions.

(7) Why do they feel they’ve got to “redefine the peer review process” to prevent dissenting science papers being published?

(8) Why do they need to get science journal editors removed from their jobs because they dared to publish a dissenting paper? The Climategate emails not only pointed to some poor science, but also showed poor behaviour on the part of some leading ‘climate change’ scientists closely connected with the IPCC.

(9) Why, after being the beneficiary of billions of dollars of research funding in the last two decades, haven’t they by now proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt? One straightforward answer is that the ‘proof’ of AGW’s being a catastrophe for humanity has not yet been found, and may never be found, though twenty years ago that looked easy. It isn’t easy, and Nature has not been kind enough to follow the predictions of the modellers.

(10) Why is anyone who simply questions the science being equated with a holocaust denier? The answer here is that AGW became a political issue well before the science was strong enough to settle it as a scentific certainty. A great deal has been invested, by governments and other organisations around the world, in the validity of AGW, and shutting up any opposition to it has been the the initial response. It is getting harder to do this successfully.

(11) Why are they attempting to substitute science by consensus for scientific proof? Proof is not really possible. The appeal to a supposed consensus on the part of scientists and scientific bodies is another way of shutting up dissent, and again, it is decreasingly successful.

(12) Why have global temperatures not risen in the best part of two decades while CO2 levels have kept on rising? Nobody knows, but see the response to #5 above.

(13) Why can’t we get a straight answer to those simple questions rather than abuse, outright propaganda or simply being ignored? Because AGW is much more a political statement rather than a scientific one. See #10 above.

(14) Why can’t these supermen of miraculously settled science ever say they just don’t know? They do, privately, sometimes, but never in public, because they currently have the position of power and influence, and they try to keep that up by always seeming authoritative and confident. The mainstream media help, because bad news about humanity’s future makes a better story than good news.

These questions are the ones that made me nod my head. But the other eighteen are worthy looking at too!

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Peter Kemmis says:

    Grieving over this morning’s news of yesterday’s performance by the Australian cricket team in the 3rd Test at Old Trafford, I was saved once again by the reflection that in my own personal world, the possible result pales into insignificance. So why does it matter so much if one’s team wins or loses? For many people, it really does, buoying or distressing their week.

    Social psychologists are quite familiar with this aspect of human behaviour; our teams are our warriors, protecting our villagers from the invaders, or even better, out there looting and pillaging, winning us more wealth, women and resources. With sport, there’s a little less bloodshed, little personal economic impact (unless we laid money out on a failed bet), but I suspect a similar lilt or wail in our song.

    And so to The Pointman. And to all of those who keep bashing their heads against the brick wall of climate obstinacy (oops, did I betray which side I’m cheering for?). Again and again evidence and sound arguments are presented to those arguing for CAGW, but most have by now identified with the CAGW cause. It is theirs also, and they must defend it at all costs. Hoping to convince villagers on the other side is almost pointless, Mr Pointman.

    Yet we must keep trying, for there are many villages, and many unaligned villagers. To not persist, is to capitulate to ignorance, to fail the truth gained from intellectual rigour, and to fail ourselves. For this issue is not a cricket or a football match; it is a critical proxy for how we as individuals and as a society, should investigate, observe and think.

  • whyisitso says:

    Thanks for the link to Pointman. I’ve added him to my bookmarks of worthwhile blogs.

    I can’t understand why you get so few comments. Maybe if a few of us put links in our comments in popular blogs we can help this one to build up the greater audience which it deserves..

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Thank you both — my only explanation for why comments represent about 1.2 per blog is that I have always avoided the aggressive stance, mostly because I am rarely sure about anything intellectual. I try to reason quietly away. And I was trained in critique. It is much easier to pull someone else’s views apart than it is to put forward something that others can’t pull apart.

    And Peter’s team analogy is a good one. All this is more important than why ‘we’ are not as good at cricket as we once were. I could do a post on that, and may yet!

  • dlb says:

    “unless the person is a climate scientist themselves, the point being made is from a position of ignorance and can therefore be ignored”
    A good way to counter this is with another sporting analogy:
    You don’t have to be an elite sportsman or for that matter any sort of sportsman to know when a team is playing badly.

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