So You Believe In Computer Models…

Shub Niggurath tries to explain what makes Nature magazine reluctant from asking authors to make their computer code public. I am not too convinced by the arguments listed as possible reasons, and prefer to blame sheer ignorance on the part of people with little experience in programming.

On the other hand, SN’s post has made it very clear to me what’s wrong with my approach to “climate science”. The problem is that I became a “computer scientist” before I became a “scientist”. This makes any computer code highly suspicious in my eyes, and therefore it also makes next-to-impossible for me to trust “computer models” of any kind.

Nowadays, more than 18 programming years later, I am amazed at learning that there are intelligent people out there unaware of the infinite range of results that can come out of a relatively simple group of programs. Those people have never supported an application written by somebody else. They have also never experienced the frustration of having to debug a piece of code.

A computer, as the saying goes, is an ass, i.e. it will only do what asked and will only do it literally. Anybody programming it without the necessary level of expertise is bound to be lead around by the ass. In other words, the vast majority of scientific papers based on computer models are very likely to be elegantly-thought garbage.