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We Have To Cure Ourselves From The Itch For Absolute Knowledge And Power

As I find myself repeating, AGW has been so far impossible to falsify, in the sense that nobody has any idea of what kind of observation or observations would be needed to disprove it, either as-is or in its catastrophic form.

This is no small detail, as the very existence of catastrophic AGW is used by many people in blatant violation of Cromwell’s Rule:

if a coherent Bayesian attaches a prior probability of zero to the hypothesis that the Moon is made of green cheese, then even whole armies of astronauts coming back bearing green cheese cannot convince him

How many AGWers would be able to accept the famous exhortation, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken“? Very very few, especially among those of an activist variety. And this brings one straight back where I started for tonight’s research, a chance view (via the concept of “scientific allegiance“) of a short, emotional clip from “The Ascent of Man” by Jacob Bronowski, author of the quote that is the title of this post.

Bronowski makes a very poignant point, inviting each and every one of us to reach out to people, instead of transforming them into numbers. And what is the accusation of “denialism” but an attempt to de-humanize anybody that is not an AGW True Believer?

The world being built anybody using the term “denialism” in an AGW context ain’t pretty. Bronowski again:

There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. That is the human condition; and that is what quantum physics says. I mean that literally.

0 replies on “We Have To Cure Ourselves From The Itch For Absolute Knowledge And Power”


Put an hot item into a Dewar Flask and time the cooling under various atmospheres. All experiments will cool at the same rate because the Greenhouse effect is totally overwhelmed by convection currents.
also see:-
John Tynsall, Esq. FRS On Radiation through the Earth’s Atmosphere Royal Institution Lecture. Friday, January 23, 1863

You might well be right that the Greenhouse effect is overwhelmed by convection currents, but your proposed experiment wouldn’t demonstrate it for many reasons, not least because the convection currents in a Dewar flask are quite different from those in the atmosphere, and because the extinction rate of CO2 to IR at terrestrial concentrations is such that you would need several tens of metres height of CO2 to absorb the infrared radiation. Experiments on regimes that are not even slightly representative of the earth’s atmosphere are pointless, for example the experiments conducted in science classes to demonstrate the Greenhouse effect by shining lamps on bottles of air and CO2 and measuring the rate of temperature increase. If the model is invalid, so are the deductions and inferences drawn from results using them.

I think that the AGW crowd should have the decency to advise us what they think is sufficient evidence to falsify their hypothesis, or what experiments or observations could be done to falsify it. It’s not even necessary for the apparatus currently to exist, only that such observations, could they be made, would disprove the hypothesis. Without clarity on this issue the CAGW hypothesis descends into pseudo-science where nothing can falsify it, and everything can be taken as corroboration (even that which would falsify it, if they had defined the criterion of falsification). To me, this is the imposture of CAGW, and the downright unscientific nature of it. Take astrology. Well, it’s certainly possible to collect evidence that ‘confirms’ it, but it is pseudo-science because it cannot be disproved. If a particular prediction doesn’t come true, well it can be explained away. It’s pretty scary that predictions can be made in CAGW only for contrary evidence to be used to support the discredited hypothesis. Ten years ago climatologists were predicting that due to gradual climate change (not weather) the frequency of very cold, snowy winters in UK would change from a once every 20 year event (one in the 1940s, one in the 1960s, one in the 1980s historically) to once in a thousand years by 2010. Funny then that we’re only 10 years into a new millennium and we’ve had two ‘once every thousand years’ events in the last twelve months. But this is simply explained away with lies, as for example the absurd statement from Oxford physics professor Myles Allen who says “As for snowfall that could actually increase in the short term because of global warming. We have all heard the expression ‘too cold to snow’ and we have always expected precipitation to increase.” It is utterly disgraceful for a scientist to use arguments he knows are fallacious. We know that Aristotle was wrong when he said “nature abhors a vacuum”, so it would be rather silly for a physicist to say “We have all heard the expression ‘nature abhors a vacuum’…” to support an argument about physics. Likewise, it’s quite stupid, disingenuous, and unprofessional to trot out a fallacious myth to bolster a dodgy argument on climate. And to think I read physics at Oxford. How have the mighty fallen!

The fact that Mars also warmed from 1999 through to 2005 which cannot be put down to the burning of fossil fuels is a good enough evidence to disprove AGW.

That’s the Magic of AGW! It only works in the free atmosphere, where there’s no chance to make a control experiment, and on timescales of decades, something that would take too long to wait for

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