Saturday, August 20, 2011

Notes on Rick Perry and Science

This morning Kevin Williamson offers a very good follow-up to the points I was making yesterday about Rick Perry on science.

He begins by clarifying a point of fact. Despite what Perry claimed, Texas does not teach creationism in its school system. It teaches evolution. 

More to the point, Williamson asks, why is everyone so worried about politicians’ opinions about science? 

Williamson’s views correlate well with mine. He writes: “In reality, of course, the progressive types who want to know politicians’ views on evolution are not asking a scientific question; they are asking a religious and political question, demanding a profession of faith in a particular materialist-secularist worldview.”

When it comes to the question of global climate change, Williamson’s views also correlate well with mine. It's not about the science, but about the policies that would be enacted once people agree to accept the dogma as a scientific fact. 

In his words: “One might be convinced that anthropogenic global warming is a real and problematic phenomenon, and still not be convinced that the policies being pushed by Al Gore et al. are wise and intelligent.”

He continues: “Progressives like to cloak their policy preferences in the mantle of science, but they do not in fact give a fig about science, which for them is only a vehicle to be ridden to the precise extent that it is convenient. This is why they will ask what makes Rick Perry qualified to disagree with the scientific establishment, but never ask the equally relevant question of what makes Jon Huntsman qualified to agree with it. So long as they are getting the policies they want, they don’t care. If you want to see how dedicated a progressive is to dispassionate science, spend two minutes talking about the heritability of intelligence. You’ll be up to your neck in witchcraft and superstition and evasion in no time at all.”

And also: “The real question about global warming isn’t whether one computer simulation or another is the better indicator of what our climate will be like a century hence, it is whether such policies as envisioned by the environmentalist-anti-capitalist green coalition are wise.” 

I disagree slightly here. Regardless of what this or that computer simulation predicts about the next century’s climate, a computer simulation of the future IS NOT SCIENCE. It is not a scientific fact.

Predictions about next year’s weather or climate are not scientific facts. They are predictions. You might consider them to be more reliable than prophecy, but they are closer to prophecy than they are to science. 

Anyone who pretends to know to a scientific certainty next year’s climate does not know what science is. There is no ambiguity about it. Those who pretend that prophecy is science are simply ignorant.

Much of what passes for the science of global climate change also has a dubious scientific pedigree.

When you measure the change in global temperature over the centuries and correlate that change with the amount of fossil fuels burned, you are establishing a correlation. 

But, don’t we all know by now that correlation and causation are not the same thing? 

Have the people who believe in anthropogenic global warming factored in all of the other possible influences on the earth’s climate? 

How do they explain the massive amount of climate change that existed before human beings walked the earth?

Keep in mind that the climate change Luddites are not concerned with the environment per se. They really want to blame human beings, or, in particular, industrialization.

An they want us all to feel so guilty about what we have done to damage Mother Nature that we will accept the environmentalist agenda unthinkingly.

Psychological manipulation is not science either. 

1 comment:

Gary said...

Once again, I find the correlation between your posts and good sense to be very high. High enough that I starting to think they may be some causation involved.
Probably need to continue to collect data on this though so I'll keep reading.