In a post over at Peter Guest’s blog, Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann is quoted making one of the most remarkable statements that I’ve ever heard coming out of a supposed scientist’s mouth:
Proof is for mathematical theorems and alcoholic beverages. It’s not for science.
He goes on to explain that science is all about “credible theories” and “best explanations” and his gosh-darn critics supposedly don’t offer up any of those.
Now it seems pretty obvious that Mann’s attempt to separate proof from science stems from increasing public awareness that the warming predicted by the high-sensitivity models that Mann and others have championed just hasn’t occurred over the last fifteen years. No matter. You don’t need “proof” when you have “credible theories.”
That comes as something of a shock to me. When I was going to school to earn my degree in chemistry, we were taught that science was indeed all about absolute truths and proofs at the end of the day. “Credible theories” is how you got to those truths, not an alternative to them.
The proposition that phlogiston made combustion possible was a “credible theory” for a long time, until Lavoisier conclusively “proved” that oxidation was responsible. Before USEPA approves the use of an air pollution dispersion model, real world data that “proves” the model can successfully and accurately determine dispersion patterns is necessary. Climatologists, apparently, do not suffer under similar uncomfortable burdens.
And the problem here is that guys like Mann, Jones, Gore, etc. have been running around for years, essentially presenting their hyper-sensitive version of climatology as established, unquestionable fact. I can’t count the number of times that AGW-heads have told me that “climate change is an established, scientific fact!” (Which it is of course, but not in the sense that these knuckleheads use the phrase).
Guest laments that:
Bound by honesty, the scientific consensus (sic) is going to struggle to overcome this problem, appearing unable to actually back up its results with tangible events…
Cross out the word “appearing” and you have as concise a statement of the problems that alarmists like Mann increasingly face with each passing day.
Guest also calls the US the world’s biggest carbon emitter, a position we’ve surrendered to China some time ago, while Mann moans that his critics have “…delayed the necessary reductions in carbon emissions for decades…” I don’t know whether to conclude Mann is stupid, lazy or willfully ignorant, but EPA data clearly shows that the United States has been making massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions since 2008 and the combination of new CAFÉ standards, EPA-forced coal-fired power plant retirements and state renewable portfolio standards ensure that these reductions will continue far into the future.
Good Lord! The guy got what he wanted and he’s still whining. Michael, if you want to sell your doomsday routine, take your act to Beijing or Delhi – there’s nothing left to do in the states short of going Flintstones.
This Mann-love comes as the enviro-left takes pot-shots at the brilliant conservative writer Mark Steyn, who made the mistake of not only questioning Mann’s theories, but had the effrontery to do so utilizing satire. The thin-skinned climatologist is in the process of suing Steyn, National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, apparently for both hurting his feelings and for pointing out that “credible theories” do not equate to either proof or truth.
The whacky world of climate alarmism is falling apart. The leading acolytes of the movement will continue to wail that it’s all the fault of those evil energy interests that supposedly make fellows like me question the theology of AGW theory, but in reality they have no one to blame for their increasing irrelevance but themselves.[Editor’s note: Rich Trzupek has responded to some of the responses to this post in a new post.]