September 6, 2009
Making it up in global warming theory
Gee it's hot today. But... compared to what? That's the big question in the global warming game. The best ways of measuring world temps is with satellites and weather balloons, using space-age electronics. Which didn't exist until recently. So if it seems hotter today, we have to guess at the historic baseline for the last 2,000 years.
Or rather, we end up using "baseline surrogates." Like Arctic ice cores, tree rings, and such. Politicians do it all the time with job figures and the economy. Look how many jobs we didn't lose this quarter! It could have been a lot worse! They just make up a low baseline for comparison. Kids do the same thing when they come home with a bad report card. It could have been a lot worse, Mom!
Now the trouble with "surrogate baselines" for anything in science is that it takes a long time to figure out what they really mean. Is your cholesterol level really a good "baseline surrogate" for your chances of blowing a gasket down the line? Turns out it isn't that good. You can have low cholesterol and run into trouble in middle age, or high cholesterol and live to a ripe old age. With longitudinal measures (over long periods of time) we usually find out how good they are after a long time passes, to check the surrogate against real data. Until then we are just speculating. A huge amount of scientific debate is precisely about that question. It goes on all the time. It's only in the warming game that temperature surrogates are accepted without question. If they are low enough, so we can "prove" that things have gotten hot, hot.
Science magazine is run by a True Believer in global warming. These people have conquered the commanding political heights in science. They control British medical science, for example, on behalf of the UK Medical Monopoly, which is run by the BritLeft. So you have to assume that in reaching Science magazine you're always reading the New York Times, and you always have to read for spin and bias. It's a breakdown of normal science, and it is potentially a disaster. (Arguably a lot of people have already died from politicized science since the rise of the Boomer Left. Viz., Rachel Carson.)
Science magazine is the house organ of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the big money union for science. At one point they spelled their name AAA$ in their glossy ads. Which was at least honest.
Obama just rewarded his academic buds by doubling the budget of the National Science Foundation, and sending a couple of hundred billion to the climate alarmists. Science magazine has been outright supporting the Democrats for years in its editorial pages. Academic Pell Grants have increased by 25% in just one year. It all goes to the Big U Lobby. Academia is a powerful political lobby, and they lean Hard Left. What we are reading in Science magazine today is not exactly free from that Party Line.
Which makes me wonder why ice cores are considered such reliable measures of global temps in the Arctic two millenia ago. Who knows what was really going on to change a few degrees of melting and freezing, melting and freezing in layer upon layer of ice mixed with dirt and bacteria, week after week over a couple of thousand years? The Arctic is a very complicated, very dynamic place. New glaciers constantly grow and calve off. Moss and bacterial films raise the ice temps underneath. Salinity changes the melting temperature of sea water. Krakatoa erupts in the Pacific Ocean and blasts a layer of carbon particles around the world, warming the top layers of ice, maybe down to ten centimeters or more; as a result, algae may bloom and melt ice layers where they thrive. The Great Southern Oscillation (El Nino) flips every now and then, sending streams of warm water in different directions around the world. There are whole ecosystems that thrive at very high heat around oceanic vents and use sulfur-based metabolism. A total surprise when they were discovered in the 1990s; it overturned four centuries of biological classification research. Were there similar "extremophile" organisms in the ice during the Maunder Minimum five hundred years ago? Who knows? Those critters are long gone, their populations are constantly adapting to changing conditions. Micro-organisms are amazingly adaptive.
The idea of a perfectly stable "surrogate baseline" for 2,000 years of global temps is dubious in the extreme. And there's no proof -- it's all dependent on somebody's computer model, and all computer models are wrong when it comes to the real world. All the banks that went down the tubes in the Market Crash of 2008 were relying on super-duper computer stock market models that turned out to be wrong. Biological and climate models are no better. If anything, they are more primitive.
The burden of proof in real science is always on the proposer. It's the global warmers who have to prove their claims beyond a shadow of a doubt. Albert Einstein had to prove Special Relativity Theory (via the famous solar eclipse expeditions of 1914). That's how healthy science always works. A lot of science doesn't get proven until the proposer is long dead. Max Planck wasn't recognized until very late in life.
If you flip the burden of proof, every End of the Earth fantasist can have his own "scientific" empire. It's like flipping the burden of guilt in a criminal trial: Would you please prove your innocence to the satisfaction of a hanging judge? That's how witchcraft trials work, and Stalinist show trials. So the burden of proof has to be on the proposer.
So today Science mag is telling us that the infamous Hockey Stick curve is back. We have "proof" of amazingly fast warming in the Arctic over the last century, by as much as a whole degree centigrade -- compared to that "surrogate" baseline.
Well, color me skeptical.
These are the same climate modelers who have been repeatedly found to be ... well, let's call it wrong ... on the evidence they cherry-picked. Just the way Pope Urban VIII was wrong about Galileo; not because they have a bias, you understand. Like the Inquisition, they just had a purely scientific debate with Galileo about the rings of Jupiter.
Today's scientific popes are not in the Vatican; they are in the White House, the EPA and NASA. They control the UN and its bizarre forecasts about Global Armageddon any day now, which only UN bureaucrats can solve. That will be hundreds of billions from America; no, let's go Obama. Make it trillions. Live a little.
James Hansen wants global warming skeptics prosecuted for Crimes Against Humanity, just like Galileo was persecuted by the Holy Inquisition. He's not the only one, and with Obama those characters are all over DC. Why do you think Dr. "Let's Kill the Demented" Emanuel has his personal empire at the National Institutes of Health in DC? He speaks for the Imperial Bureaucracy. That's why he's destined to become our High Medical Commissar.
It wouldn't be that science funders have become biased and corrupted by the global warming game, would it? Naaahhh... I mean, that might mean that Swine Flu and Mad Cow have been insanely over-hyped for decades, just for the sake of scare headlines, the political fuel for socialist establishments all over the world. Keep the people good and scared, and promise them anything. That's how Obama operates. That's how socialists work in Europe.
But Scientists Are Good and Honest. They aren't bought by showers of golden coins. Tenure, an endless flow of research grants, academic applause and public notoriety, well, I'm not saying. Scientists are easily seduced by the applause of the media, just like Madonna. Especially scientist-politicians like Hansen at NASA. Shut off his phone line to the media, and he's ruined.
But today we have a Free Science medium, not controlled by the Left and by Establishment Science.
You're reading it. Now you can find out the best evidence, follow the honest debates (there are some), and make up your own mind. Science dies without a free media. Just like all the other personal freedoms. Science is just the freedom to think clearly and without coercion. Without freedom, it's just another version of mental slavery.