La, la, la. I can’t hear you, I’m not listening.
I’ve been watching the slow and gory deconstruction of the latest attempt to rehabilitate the hockey stick, otherwise known as the Marcott et al paper. It’s a bit voyeuristic, but you just can’t help yourself in the end. Within the context of the skeptic blogosphere, it’s the latest Christian thrown into the arena to be ripped apart in what’s become a type of armchair blood sport of the internet.
Watching the jaws of Steve McIntyre and others ripping into the corpse is interesting in a gruesome sort of way, but what I find fascinating about this latest debacle is the alarmist’s reaction to the destruction of what looks to be a freshman paper, which is rapidly turning into yet another propaganda disaster.
Everyone, and that very much includes the alarmists, knows that paper is going down but their response appears to be just sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting “La, la, la. I can’t hear you, I’m not listening.” And they have the temerity to call us deniers …
The hard data quite simply doesn’t support the theory of global warming. The theory and all the models are wrong. There hasn’t been any of the predicted warming in nearly two decades but that doesn’t matter if you can get your fingers in your ears quick enough and do a bit of chanting. For supposedly scientific people, what they don’t appear to understand is actually quite simple. If you try to positively test a fundamentally wrong theory, then it’s easy for someone to pick out the flaw in your supposed proof. It’s for that simple reason, we win every time, Buster, every time.
The scientific method works on a blindingly simple basis. You make a conjecture about how something works, which is a fancy way of saying you’re taking a guess, and then you test it in the real world. You think up experiments, which will check if the results predicted by your guess actually occur in the real world. If the results from the experiments match what your conjecture predicts, then your conjecture gradually tiptoes forward to being crowned Miss Scientific Theory of the year. The band strikes up. There’s a diamante tiara, applause, lots of tears, cheers, a tiny bouquet of pink flowers and a heartfelt thank you to Mum and Dad, without whom etc etc. I’m sure you get the idea by now.
However, if experimental results differ from predicted results, your pet theory goes the way of deely boppers, culottes and the Dodo. A different sort of tears. Big Al the jerry jewboy Einstein nutshelled the whole idea in his usual succinct fashion – a thousand experiments can’t prove I’m right but it takes just one to prove I’m wrong. His crack about God not playing dice still worries me, but I’m in danger of digressing.
If there’s no earthly way anyone can test your guess, never mind disprove it, then it cannot be termed a scientific theory. It’s therefore just an unverifiable belief, like alien abduction, crop circles, children not knowing what snow is, predictions of searing Summers and mild Winters, the complete melting of the North Pole by 2013, or what the weather is going to be like in a hundred years time. By the way, spot the Al Gore prediction in that lot.
When you’ve got a really great theory, and the only snag with it is that Mr. Scientific Method keeps saying no, you’ve still got some ways forward but they’re all a little bit shady. Numero uno is just to lie your head off. You tell them you’ve done the experiments and the theory checks out. Of course, you’ve been frigging around with the data or the results, perhaps even both. The downside of that wheeze is replication.
Other tedious sciency types want to repeat the experiment using your data and methods, so you really have to work bloody hard to think up reasons why they simply can’t have what they need to reproduce your results. It’s propriety data, it’d be a breach of non-disclosure agreements, it’s been deleted, I can’t find it, it’d be a mortal sin, I left it on the school bus, my Granny’s just died, the dog ate it, it’s down in Missouri having an inappropriate relationship with a nun – take your pick. In the end, some of the suspicious types even resort to serving you with Freedom of Information notices. Bastards. What a bunch of ungrateful swine they are. After the usual legal delaying tactics, they’ll eventually get their hands on the data and your ass is pretty much grass from that point on.
Another way forward is to insist your theory is so crucial and pressing, it doesn’t need that old fuddy duddy scientific method straitjacket proof. Mann, that’s all so out of date nowadays. You invent something called post-normal science (stop sniggering you gang of real scientists at the back of the room), which basically says if your theory is morally or politically virtuous, you shouldn’t be expected to actually do something so boring and yesterday as to prove it; it’s a shoo in.
Okay, I’ll admit it’s not a good out, nobody can seriously discuss post-normal science with a straight face or without pissing themselves. You’d have to be a complete idiot.
The last, and silliest resort, which they’ll eventually be driven to arrive at, is throwing it back at the skeptics and demanding that they disprove a negative. What on Earth does that mean, you might ask?
Let’s skip the formal logic explanation and go with an example. You meet someone and they tell you they have an invisible golden Wombat floating 3.145 feet over their head. You look and of course there’s no Wombat there, golden or otherwise. You tell them there’s nothing there. They absolutely insist there is. Perhaps it’s not only the Wombat who’s high. After a bit of debate, they come back with their killer argument – well, prove it isn’t there. Silence. Of course, there’s no possible way you can do that, which is somehow and inexplicably taken by them as a clincher that the golden invisible Wombat does actually in fact exist. Yup, I know, brainless, but let’s just move it along here.
You see, you can’t disprove a negative. There’s simply no way, Jose. That simple abuse of logic is so often the essential reason, if I could risk using that word in this line of argument, for the longevity of all blatantly ludicrous conspiracy theories.
They are advancing a conjecture, which they insist is a scientific theory, and that means they’ve got to play the science game. They try to positively test it and we shoot the tests down every time. No matter what “tricks” they pull in the name of the “cause”, the real world data, no matter how much they torture it, simply doesn’t conform to the theory’s predictions. For them, going down the avenue of asking us to disprove the theory isn’t correct, would be an explicit admission we’re talking about a belief rather than science, though they’ve unconsciously edged towards that disaster a few times. That escape route is closed for them. The irony is that them even asking a skeptical scientist to disprove the theory of global warming would probably involve giving him some significant funding, which as far as I’m aware, would be a first.
There are very few options left to them. They can either concede the science is wrong, which they can’t do, admit it’s nothing more than a belief, which would remove the respectable scientific imprimatur that’s been used to justify the policy ramifications or try to pull a golden Wombat, which would put them at our complete mercy. They’ve been forced into that dilemma and simply can’t make their mind up, hence all the fingers in ears and chanting that’s going on. It’s displacement activity in the face of the growing crisis, which is bearing down on them like an iron meteorite.
They keep offering proofs of the existence of the golden Wombat and by publically debunking each one, we use each and every one of them as another nail in the coffin lid of climate alarmism. Marcott et al is just another Gergis, Lewandowsky or Shakun paper, which as it crashes and burns, serves our infowar purposes so much better than theirs. They’ve become figures of fun. It’s possibly not too charitable, but nowadays people in the science community are actually highly amused at the desperate twists and turns of their latest paper. They can’t wait for the next one.
You don’t often see such colourful shenanigans like that in science and there’s a definite sense of chickens finally coming home to roost. Anyone who can provoke such gales of laughter, should be on the stage and of late, there’s not been enough fig leaves left to go around and cover up their embarrassments. We’re talking headless chickens running in circles and now starting to bump into each other. Cue the Benny Hill chase music.
It’s like watching yet another particularly bad piece of homework, brimming with elementary errors, which is being corrected by a tired and increasingly exasperated teacher. Another score of F minus, I’m afraid. Time for a concerned word with young Jimmy’s parents.
It’s a science game they can’t win but somehow they can’t help themselves either. At this stage, such brainless and repetitive behaviour has very distinctly strayed into the obsessive compulsive zone. Keep handing us those nails and we’ll keep hammering them home.
Anyway, can we have another Warmist for the arena please? There wasn’t much meat on the last one and the lions are still a bit peckish.
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