Claims of 'settled science' about global warming and almost everything else are nonsense

I cringe every time I hear someone invoke "settled science." And when
a scientist does it, I smell a rat.

Gravity is settled science.
But how gravity works is not. Not much of science is all that settled.
Especially assertions that global warming is man-made. Claims of settled
science have such a tattered history of being wrong, you'd think global
warming partisans would be afraid to trot out that old canard.

Yet, they do. We got another dose of settled-science baloney a couple of
weeks ago when the National Research Council, an arm of the National
Academy of Sciences, said the science underlying the assertions of
man-made global warming is "sound," despite "Climategate" discoveries
that called into question global warming's basic conclusions. Even
worse, the council's panel went well beyond the reach of cautious
science by stepping into the political arena and calling for a carbon
tax or cap-and-trade legislation.

Continue reading in the Chicago Tribune


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  • The National Research Council report you castigate is, I guess, the one issued in late May 2010.It is the report of 90 scientists who spent two years reviewing and assessing five years of peer-reviewed scientific literature. This was literature not included in the older IPCC report. In issuing their report, the scientists said that the data strongly indicate that climate change is occurring and that human activity is a substantial cause of the change in climate. I don't recall ever seeing five years of peer-reviewed data cited by climate change deniers. Peer review, as you know, is a process used by science publications. Scientists conduct research, write a paper about their research, and submit it to a science journal (the journal "Science" for example). The journal editors read the paper and if they judge it worthy of consideration to be published, they submit the paper to a panel of knowledgeable reviewers for comment of the science, suggested revision, and suggested eventual acceptance or publication. The reviewers do not know the identity of the paper's author(s), and the author(s) do not know the identity of the reviewers. It is a rigorous process, and a paper may have to go more than one round of review before acceptance for publication.

    As you say, science is never entirely "settled" and that is one of the glories of science. There are hypotheses supported by evidence and the evidence may hold up for greater or lesser periods of time. If the evidence is very strong and holds up over time (i.e., it has not yet been falsified), it may be accepted as a very strong hypothesis upon which further work (or policy) may be based.

    If you want absulote certainly about the world in which you live, you ignore the sindings of science and you accept a creation myth that is Absolute Truth which cannot be falsified.

    Understanding how the Earth's climate works is science in its infancy. But science has produced very strong evidence that the Earth's temperature is rising. That may not be "settled science" but it is very unsettling science for the future of civilization.

  • I always thought that 140 years in scientific terms was really nothing. All we can really ask is that all the data be put on the table so we can all examine the facts.That shouldn't be to much to ask.If this data is so damning,put up or shutup.

  • All of the pubished, peer-reviewed data are on the table, Waterbill. A whole lot of data. More is in the pipeline, which will eventually be submitted for peer-review when the investigators are satisfied it is rigorous enough to submit for review. Assessing the data is not an easy task for a lay person (me, for example). What weight, for example, do I give to ice-core data from Greenland and Antarctic glaciers?

    An old friend who was one of the founders of the science of climitology (and mentor to many of today's climiatologists) disagrees with how the data are interpreted. He does not diagree with the observations that confirm global warming, a process he notes has been at work since the end of the Little Ice Age of Shakespeare's time. He does disagree with interpetation of data that claims a major role for mankind in initiating and accelerating global warming. He does not accuse those whom he disagrees with of perpetrating a Global Warming Hoax. He respects the integrity of his colleagues and they respect his; they can honestly disagree and await more data that will tend to confirm or falsify their interpretations.

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