Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun With Karl Popper

Popper's Falisifcationalism:

If T(Theoretical Statement) -> ~O(observational Statement)


If Solar activity drives climate change -> It is not the case that low solar activity will correlate with high temperatures.

By modus tollens, the observation that:


~ T

which is to say that our theoretical statment has been falsified/refuted.

For example:

There have been no sunspots for almost 42 days and there are none in the offing and July 2009 was the second hottest July on record.


Anthony Watts is fucked up in the head.


Of course, that's the "side of a cracker jack box" version of Karl Popper's Falsificationism. But WUWT is side of "side of a cracker jack box" science.


Anonymous said...

Have you bought your long underwear yet ?

You have been warned. The cold is coming.

The silly idea that small changes in a very minor trace atmosphere gas, that makes up about 4% of all the greenhouse gases, drives our climate is very bizarre "science"

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...


Unfortunately, much of your recent blogs on the climate change issue solidify the "us" and "them" mentality that avoids true positive discussion and change.

Perhaps we need to get out of our "camps", and engage in open discussions without seeking to ignore everything the "other" side says which doesn't confirm our own already established agendas.

The real question, to me, isn't whether or not the THEORY of anthromorphic climate change is born out, it is:

a) will the results be as catastrophic as Al Gore, David Suzuki have suggested - or, is there an intentional exaggeration on their part going on, out of their fear of inaction in the absense of apocolyptic climate scenarios? As Jimmy Carter's own climate change advocate (and Nobel Prize winning economist) Thomas Schelling affirms, "It's a tough sell. And probably you have to find ways to exaggerate the threat."

b) are the current responses to the theory born out as the best course of action (a la Kyoto)?

Kyoto, as many have pointed out, is perhaps veiled tool of income re-distribution, and has marginal relevance to true climate change.

Consider, perhaps, these comments of Bjorn Lomborg:

"Saying that Kyoto and feel-good measures are rotten ideas is different from saying that we should ignore the problem. Doing nothing would be wrong. We shouldn't throw ourselves headlong into poor solutions. But it would be just as bad to stick our heads into the sand.

The solution in the long run is to stop using fossil fuels altogether. To get there requires not just goodwill but smart economics. We need to make it cost-effective to cut emissions.

This requires us to have much better technologies, not only for solar and wind but also for carbon capture and energy conservation. I propose that our generational challenge should be for every nation to commit to spending 0.05 percent of its GDP researching and developing non-carbon-emitting energy technologies. The cost would be $25 billion, increasing R&D by ten times. Yet it would still be seven times cheaper than the Kyoto Protocol and possibly a hundred times cheaper than a Kyoto II.

Every nation must do its bit, with richer nations paying the larger share. Instead of crushing innovation and enterprise for the good of the planet, we could realize a low-carbon, high-income future.

Ti-Guy said...

What happened to question c) Rob:

Is there an organised propaganda campaign to deny climate change financed mainly by the fossil fuel industry and the industries that rely on them?

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

I didn't think my point would be confirmed so quickly Ti-Guy.. my question is:

a) Are the results of climate change as dire and uniformly negative as we're lead to believe?; and

b) Are there better responses than Kyoto-type income redistribution plans?

Predictably, your response is no response at all, it's, "if you refuse to be a "full believer" you are evil minions of hell...err.. being bought off by the energy lobby.

bigcitylib said...

The problem with Lomberg's "solutions" are, once you've sourced his numbers, they are either dubious or without source. And do you really think starting over from scratch and getting worldwide agreements to commit x amount of funds forever would be any easier than Copenhagen?

Frank said...

Apparently the 'green' Democrats aren't too worried. The Obama government has given approval to Enbridge's Alberta Clipper pipeline which will transport 450,000 barrels/day of so-called "dirty" tar sands crude oil to the US. President Green himself signed the approval. Another nail in the warmers' coffin.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

BCL - the problem with most climate change discussion on both sides is that it's "dubious and without source" in the sense of being based upon an extremely complex system, premised on models of prediction that most scientists concede is a guess.

Now - I think the point made by Schellnig is well taken, that, sadly, in the absense of apolyptic potential, self-interest rules against difficult change.. but if the best answer is answer "b" I'm not sure if we're well served by saying, "but we've worked so hard to get agreement on a much worse answer".

Ti-Guy said...

the problem with most climate change discussion on both sides

Do you deliberately confuse political controversies with scientific ones, or are you so far gone you can't even tell the difference anymore?

Must be a lot CanWest propaganda being pumped out in Alberta in the last while. The citizenry seems particularly on message.

richard said...

"most climate change discussion on both sides is that it's "dubious and without source" "

The science is pretty clear, and the data are quite extensive, if you bother to look. If there is still controversy within the climate science community it is over how rapidly the globe will warm in response to CO2.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

richard.. if you bother to read the whole of my post, I'm not denying the relationship between human events and global increases in temperature.

What I'm suggesting is that there is a tendancy to over-state the certainty of the result of those changes, both in terms of the degree of change likely, and the resultant impact of that change.

For exampe - the most verdant period in world history occurred, as I understand, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum - some 55 million years ago, when earth temperatures (clearly without assistance of man) rose to such levels that the polar regions experienced average temperatures, apprently of some 20 degrees C..

During this time, tropical flora existed in current polar regions, global rainfall increased, and, most curiously, mammals flourished.

One might then, reasonably, ask, "will global warming have a positive impact on world-wide vegitative growth, allowing for greater crop production and grazing potential?

I'm not suggesting that this is necessarily the case, but, near as I can tell, in what I've read, there is very little written about that potential.

Clearly, life has flourished post-ice age, and, clearly as well, temperatures moderated following the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum - without any certainty as I understand as to why that is.

So - yeah, I guess it's fair to say, from what I've read, that the science is not "pretty clear" in the sense of being able to predict future results of current human behaviour as regards our environment.

If you have available scientific information that goes beyond modelling, and is willing to make predictions of narrow ranges of possible future climate, and as well, can offer certain predictions of sea-level changes, rainfall levels, agricultural productivity, etc., I'm happy to add it to everything I've been reading to revise my opinion.

I'm quite certain you can't.

So - rather than dismiss me as a "heretic", perhaps direct me to the better information that I haven't seen yet.

richard said...

"the most verdant period in world history occurred, as I understand, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum - some 55 million years ago, "

Its not just the temp max, its the rate of warming. The latter is unprecendented in the scientific record - no modelling needed for that.

If you really want to review the scientific data, I'd suggest RealClimate or Tamino. But I'm not sure you do.

buckets said...

If you have available scientific information that goes beyond modelling, and is willing to make predictions of narrow ranges of possible future climate …

I don't mean to be dense, Rob, but how could someone make these sorts of predictions without modeling?

Steve Scolnik said...

"how could someone make these sorts of predictions without modeling?"

As someone said in a comment somewhere else (can't remember where): You just take an Earth-like planet and perform the experiment. Oh, that's right, we're already doing exactly that.

Holly Stick said...

I am tempted to think people like roblaw are smirkingly disingenuous when they write this kind of bilge; but it is possible that they are too pig-ignorant to even be able to understand how pig-ignorant they are.

roblaw, there were no human beings in existence during the Paleocene. Now there are more than 6 billion human beings. These human beings live on staples such as rice and grains which do not grow in a tropical climate, but in temperate climates. Many of them have been scientifically bred for the current climate. Now that the climate is changing, we will have more frequent crop failures and much more widespread starvation.

What tropical plants could you feed 6 billion people on? How long could you survive by eating your mom's rubber plant?

What causes crop failures? Sometimes too little rain or too much rain, too little heat or too much heat, too strong winds, hail, diseases especially when there is not enough biodiversity to slow down the spread of disease; or plagues of locusts, pine bark beetles and all sorts of other pests.

You want a branch of scienc to study? Try ecosystems, which develop over a long time and which collapse under too much such, such as swift climate change.

Holly Stick said...

'collapse under too much stress' is what that last sentence should say.

John Mashey said...


So, can you say what you've read about climate change to reach your opinions?

1) Have you read any good book, by a real climate scientist, for a general audience, or for an undergraduate non-science-major class?

2) Have you talked to real climate scientists? Who?

3) If not, which websites and blogs inform you?