Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Settled Science!

Science is never settled. In the late 17th century, Isaac Newton described his Laws of Motion, which included the force of gravity. There are new discoveries that increase our knowledge of gravity even today. It is not settled science. Einstein wrote his General Theory of Relativity around one hundred years ago. While this treatise opened new territory in the study of physics,research still goes on today and will for many many years. Settled science? No.

True scientists realize that no science is ever settled. It is always subject to peer review and new knowledge.  But those great and famous scientists, Al Gore, Barack Obama, and John Kerry tell us that the science of "Climate Change" is settled. So you should just shut up and let your betters handle it. Forget peer review. There will be no new knowledge. So there is no need for debate.

There are some strange things here. A very few years ago it was "Global Warming", that we were assured was settled science. But a funny thing happened. It stopped getting warmer. In fact, it got cooler. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that it was still actually getting warmer just in secret places that we are too ignorant to know about. So who are you going to believe? The feeling that you are dragging out the heavy coat earlier in the year and wearing it longer, or those three world famous scientists. But just to cover all the bases, it now became "Climate Change". But, according to the three world famous scientists the science is still settled.

So how was global warming discovered in the first place? It wasn't. It was extrapolated. What does extrapolated mean, you may ask? That is scientist talk for a flaming wild ass guess. Around 1999, Michael Mann, a professor at East Anglia University, a school hidden someplace in Great Britain that nobody ever heard of, developed a computer program. This program was to do two things. By taking past planetary temperature data it was supposed to predict the future. Kind of a computerized crystal ball. And it was undoubtedly supposed to get the good professor a grant. 

As anyone who has ever written a computer program will tell you, if you pre-decide the results, you can easily manipulate the data to prove yourself right. Is that ethical? No. Is it done? Of course. When people purport to have made a scientific breakthrough and the supporters of this new theory will not allow the rigor of peer review, one must be skeptical.

Well, a terrible thing happened. Suddenly it became the cause celebre  for quasi scientific committees from the UN to public administrations around the world. Almost every committee of politicians with climate or ecology in the name of their committee jumped on board, knowing they had found a path to tons of public money to spend. Hence they billed themselves as scientific bodies and declared the science settled.

As I sit here going through my mid-winter depression waiting for today's blizzard, aided in my depression by the third coldest winter on record, I think about how carbon dioxide is a perfectly normal gas in the atmosphere. In fact plants require it to live. I contemplate that CO2 levels have been much higher than this during past eras. I dream of the ancient time when Greenland was really green and the land there could be farmed. I also think of the phony, made for TV reasons, that getting colder is proof of global warming. And I think, settled science indeed.

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