My PhD is in Mathematical Statistics, though I am now a Data Philosopher, Epistemologist, Probability Puzzler, Unmasker of Over-Certainty, and (self-awarded) Bioethicist. My Masters is in Atmospheric Physics, and Bachelors in Meteorology.
Authored or co-authored 67+ papers, two books (with another coming shortly), dozens of abstracts and preprints in fields of statistics, medicine, philosophy, meteorology and climatology, solar physics, and energy use. Various professional memberships, editorships, and so forth.
Latest posts by William M. Briggs (see all)
- (Hot) Air Let Out of California’s Climate Change Lawsuit - April 2, 2018
- California Sues Over Global Warming, Judge Orders Climate Lesson - March 14, 2018
- Union of Concerned Scientists Hates Truth About Global Warming - April 20, 2017
No scientist I have ever met has ever — and I mean never — denied the earth’s climate has changed. So obvious are observations of change, that I have never even heard of a civilian denying change, either.
No scientist I have ever met has ever — and again I mean never — denied the earth’s climate has changed in part because of human activities. But then, these same scientists also know that every creature, from aardvarks to zebras, has an influence on the climate. (Didn’t we read recently that spiders both weigh and eat more than men? Think about the climatic havoc these eerie arachnids wreak!)
Nobody, save the odd lunatic, denies the earth’s climate has changed. And all scientists agree that mankind affects the climate. So the term climate change denier has to be one of the dumbest, inapt, and foolish slogans of our times. Anybody who uses it proves that she is clueless of the science of climatology. Or that she has something other than the practice of science of her mind. Like, say, politics.
Take the comments of Ann Reid and her two co-authors writing for the Union of Nervous — oops, make that Concerned — Scientists. Motto: Science for the healthy planet and safer world. (Before we get to Reid, note that planets cannot be healthy or ill. Only things that are live can be healthy or ill. Planets are not alive — though pantheists believe they can be.)
Anyway, Reid (and her pals) write “Is No Place Safe? Climate Change Denialists Seek to Sway Science Teachers.” There’s the telling phrase: climate change denialists. This is a sure signal we’re about to be treated a political and not scientific discourse. Seems Reid isn’t happy that the Heartland Institute had a conference to which they invited scientists to opine on how likely global warming will destroy us all (as I have spoken before). Their answer? Not likely.
Heartland also sent the booklet “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming” to science teachers across the country. When Reid angrily referenced this book, she twice appended the notation “sic.” That is a sign to readers that the error present in quoted material was not put there by the quoter. Well, there is nothing wrong with the booklet title. Nothing is misspelled. And, indeed, the booklet is about why scientists disagree about global warming.
So what was the mistake Reid wanted to signal?
Global warming used to be what they called “climate change” — before the science of global warming went sour. Reid doesn’t like to be reminded that the science of global warming is a failed science. How do we know it’s failed? Easy.
The key purpose of any scientific theory is to make skillful predictions of reality. Any theory that cannot do so, is a false or flawed theory. And we should not rely on false or flawed theories to make decisions about the world, especially ones that greatly influence all people.
The theory of dangerous man-made global warming has not made skillful predictions of reality. Congress was reminded of this recently by John Christy (hat tip: Manhattan Contrarian). He’s a Professor of Atmospheric Science and Alabama State Climatologist, University of Alabama in Huntsville. Christy said:
I demonstrate that the consensus of the models [relied upon by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] fails the test to match the real-world observations by a significant margin. As such, the average of the models is considered to be untruthful in representing the recent decades of climate variation and change, and thus would be inappropriate for use in predicting future changes in the climate or for related policy decisions…
What’s evident is that the model trends in which [man-made greenhouse gases] are included lie completely outside of the range of the observational trends. That means, again, that the models, as hypotheses, failed a simple “scientific-method” test applied to this basic, climate-change variable. That this information was not clearly and openly presented in the IPCC is evidence of a political process that was not representative of the dispassionate examination of evidence as required by the scientific method.
Christy shows a depressing picture of the range and mean of model predictions against reality. Reality wins and the models lose.
Here’s what really miffs Reid: Heartland, and scientists like Christy (and your present author), “disparages the well-respected, Nobel-Prize-winning, IPCC.” If by “disparages” she means pointing out their glaring errors, then Reid is right. And do we need a reminder that even Barack Obama won a Nobel Prize?
Perhaps seeing her own fuzzy reflection, Reid ends with “climate change deniers … [contribute] nothing except vitriol, achieving nothing except confusion.” Truth is now called “vitriol.” And how dare truth soil a beautiful theory with such lofty political goals?
[First published at The Stream.]
NOTE: William M. Briggs spoke at two of Heartland’s International Conferences on climate change. Watch them here.