Friday, December 07, 2007

The Universal Explanation: How global warming is being used to explain anything and everything

You will remember that global warming was blamed for the recent prevalence of hurricanes. Well, last hurricane season was a bust. There was nothing like the hurricane activity that the global warming gurus were predicting. And the cause for the low hurricane activity?

You got it: global warming.

Global warming was the cause of too many hurricanes, and also the lack thereof. In fact, says David Freddoso at National Review, Global warming is now invoked as the cause of almost everything--including things that are entirely opposite one another:
We know the possible consequences of tinkering with our environment, causing unprecedented changes. This is how we approach the subject of man-made global warming. Wherever there is change, we turn immediately to global warming to explain it. Heat and cold, drought and downpour, famine and plenty — all can be caused by global warming. It can cause more foliage and less foliage; a slower-spinning earth and a faster one; more snow and less snow; a sun-scarred desert world, or a new ice age. Climate change makes mountains grow and it makes mountains shrink.

It is not impossible that all (or at least most) of these theories are simultaneously true. But they also have the advantage of making global warming an unfalsifiable theory. Not only can no possible event disprove it, but it can actually serve as an explanation for any natural event worthy of note.
Want to know how many different things are explained by global warming? Try going here.

I'm just waiting for all those people who talk about how science must be falsifiable to denounce global warming as a pseudo-science.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"National Review"? I wasn't aware that it is a peer-reviewed science journal. How many of the claims listed caim out of peer reviewed science journals? Which peer reviewed science journals does Martin Cothran read on a regular basis?

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

I'm going to search for where in my post I said that National Review was peer reviewed, but I coulda' sworn I didn't say that.

I'm also going to try to find out where it says that the only sources of information that can be considered authoritative are peer-reviewed journals.

And of course I'm going to have to question most of my knowledge now, since most of it comes from reading classic literature, which we all know is not peer reviewed. It's too bad if you think about it. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Austin, Dickens--all have to take a back seat to the jargon-ridden, stultifying prose of people who write in journals that only a handful of people read. It's too bad.

In fact, I'm wondering now if I should respond to your comments at all, since they appear on vere loqui, which is not a peer reviewed blog.

Anonymous said...

Martin Cothran said: "And of course I'm going to have to question most of my knowledge now, since most of it comes from reading classic literature, which we all know is not peer reviewed. It's too bad if you think about it. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Austin, Dickens--all have to take a back seat to the jargon-ridden, stultifying prose of people who write in journals that only a handful of people read. It's too bad."

Perhaps this is a large part of your problem. You don't appear to understand the difference between science and classic literature. There are very good reasons scientific papers are full of "jargon-ridden, stultifying prose" and are not always entertaining to read. It is chilling that a person with such little knowledge of the issues as yourself has such an influence on education in Kentucky.

So how many of the different claims about global warming listed in the article you cite came out of journals like Nature (BAAS) and Science (AAAS) and how many came out of non-scientific sources?

truthseeker said...

Martin, in that list of things caused by global warming is "The extinction of Logic" no less. In effect global warming makes people stupid! LOL! If thats true how could these scientists be logical enough to make that argument? Is intellegence caused by global warming.

Hannah J said...

I've been laughing at this catchall for some time now.

Anonymous: "There are very good reasons scientific papers are full of "jargon-ridden, stultifying prose" and are not always entertaining to read."

What was the last book you read for enjoyment? Classic authors are supposed to be *hard*...and give insights on the meaning of life. Scientific papers are also supposed to be *hard* and help us learn more about life itself and the natural world.

As for "stultifying"--it all depends on your interest in the subject at hand. As a biologist/microbiologist, the only issue I have with journals is the plethora of abbreviations. Give me the full Latin/Greek-derived terms any day!

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

Your first post assumed that you couldn't say anything unless it was found in a peer reviewed science journal. You have yet to back that assumption up with reason or evidence. You apparently think that personal insults are good enough justification.

Then you attribute to me something I didn't say or imply: that there is no distinction between literature and science.

My point of course was that some things do not require waiting on peer reviewed journals to determine. And one of these things is when a people advocating a position engage in blatant contradiction in public.

And probably a lot of the claims of the sources listed came out of non-scientific sources. In fact, that's part of the problem: people are making what they think are definitive claims about global warming on the basis of something less than real science.

Oh, and by the way, have you ever noticed that in those peer reviewed journals that you love so much, where people criticize other people's articles, they identify who they are and don't hide behind pseudonyms like "Anonymous" and at least have the courage to identify themselves?

And have you also noticed that I'm doing that and you're not?

Anonymous said...

If anonymous comments worry you so much, why don't you eliminate them as an option? This is YOUR blog after all.

Martin Cothran said...

Anonymous,

You keep saying I said things I didn't say. Where did I say anonymous comments worry me? I was just pointing out that my actions were more in line with the kinds of publications you seem to revere than yours are.

Why should it worry me when you undermine your own case?

One Brow said...

You will remember that global warming was blamed for the recent prevalence of hurricanes.
No, I don’t remember that. In fact, I remember the explicit denials that global warming would not have an effect on the frequency of hurricanes. I also remember no claims that the pattern of having more or less hurricane activity from year to year would be interrupted. The prediction was that the strength of the hurricanes would be intensified. Of course, standard denialist rhetoric is to use local and short-term reversals that are part of any random activity as proof against a general increase, nothing unusual there.

Well, last hurricane season was a bust. There was nothing like the hurricane activity that the global warming gurus were predicting. And the cause for the low hurricane activity?

You got it: global warming.

Did you miss the part where Freddoso said that was a made-up claim?

It is not impossible that all (or at least most) of these theories are simultaneously true. But they also have the advantage of making global warming an unfalsifiable theory.
It’s very easy to falsify. Show a downward trend in global temperatures.

I'm just waiting for all those people who talk about how science must be falsifiable to denounce global warming as a pseudo-science.
Why should they lie for you?