Climaquiddick – It Doesn’t Take A Scientist …
As I wander the blogs and the net reading about the scandal that has gripped the “science” around the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia I continue to see defenses of the so-called “settled science” of AGW pushed by that group that center on the implication that those calling their data into question either aren’t smart enough or qualified enough (or both) to make the determination that the CRU’s data is wrong.
I’ll admit, up front, to both charges. I’ll also tell you that it isn’t necessary to be either as smart as some scientists or as qualified in their field to question their science. Why? Because as a schoolboy I was taught what the “scientific method” is and how vitally important that method is to the credibility of science. For those of you needing a refresher, have a look:
As you can see, there is a very important box outlined in blue among all the other boxes in the flow chart. The words “Reproduce (by others)” refers to other scientists, just as qualified as those who’ve produced the hypothesis, testing and attempting to reproduce the results that the original scientists claim. It is one of, if not the most critical step in validating a hypothesis and turning it into a “scientific theory”. It is that independent reproduction of the same results using the methods and data of the original scientists that provides scientific rigor and credibility necessary for it to go from hypothesis to theory.
That is the step that has been consistently missing in the AGW controversy. Other scientists have, for years, been asking for and been refused the original data on which the CRU based its hypothesis of man-made global warming. We see pundits defending the science claiming the emails don’t prove AGW to be a fraud. Maybe, maybe not – but what they do show is a consistent effort to avoid providing the data requested to others who would like to test it. That alone should raise a sea of red flags to any real scientist. The last thing those who are sure of their hypothesis and their science should be doing is actively trying to keep the data which underpins their hypothesis from being tested as demanded by the scientific method.
Another reason to be skeptical without having to be an atmospheric scientist has to do with other findings which have found to be wanting. Mann’s “hockey stick” turned into a hockey puck when the data was examined. We’ve seen cherry-picked tree ring data used to claim massive warming when, in fact, the complete data set showed nothing of the sort. And then there’s the undisputed fact that the earth has been cooling over the last 10 years in the face of predictions by this same group that it would be warming.
All of that (and more) is certainly enough for any layman to find the science involved less than acceptable and demand in very detailed look at its core methods and data. And that’s especially true since it is the basis of a world-wide attempt by governments to institute massive and economy killing restrictions on CO2 and other emissions which, if skeptics are correct, are completely useless and would be of marginal value at the very best.
There is a very simple solution to this mess – to those that are under fire and under scrutiny: show your work. That’s it – put it out there. Doing so is at the very center of the scientific method to which all real scientists supposedly adhere. Let other scientists poke and prod both your methods and data. If it is as solid and “settled” as claimed, it shouldn’t take long to verify that. And if it is correct then even we non-scientific skeptics will have to admit there is a problem. We may still disagree on the solution, but at least the claim of “settled science” will finally have some validity as the warming hypothesis will move into the realm of scientific theory.
All of that said, my guess is that will never happen – reading the emails tells me there is a real desire to avoid that. And that makes me suspicious of the “science”. In fact, it tells me quite a bit about the “science” of the hypothesis involved without having to know any of the scientific details. Given that, you certainly don’t have to be an atmospheric scientist or a genius to be skeptical. In fact, you have more reason than ever to remain so.