Justin Gillis, a writer for The New York Times used the recent eclipse to sell something I’d call Sciencemagic. Essentially, if some Scientists™ can calculate orbital mechanics to a fine art, it follows, ipso nonfacto, that all people who use the same job title are also always right.
Thanks to the work of scientists, people will know exactly what time to expect the eclipse. In less entertaining but more important ways, we respond to scientific predictions all the time, even though we have no independent capacity to verify the calculations. We tend to trust scientists.
If Scientists™ say that solar panels will stop malaria, then buy some! Save lives in Ghana. (What are you waiting for?)
The implications stretch far. Clearly, we can chuck out the whole research thing (labs, who needs em?) Why test predictions, if Scientists™ are 100% accurate? We’ve been wasting money. We don’t need more large hadron colliders, we just need to survey more particle physicists.
This idea that job titles have a kind of truth-telling power is not much different to astrology where truth comes from birthdates.
Preacher-Gillis struggles with cause and effect:
So what predictions have climate science made, and have they come true?
The earliest, made by a Swede named Svante Arrhenius in 1897, was simply that the Earth would heat up in response to emissions. That has been proved: The global average temperature has risen more than 1 degree Celsius, or almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit, a substantial change for a whole planet.
It’s the most tritely obvious thing that any cause of warming would cause… warming. Was it CO2, or solar spectral changes, solar magnetic effects, or solar particle flows? Gillis seems to think that warming itself is evidence that CO2 is the problem. It’s magical short-term thinking. But turning points, dammit, tell another story. If CO2 was the major driver there wouldn’t be major turning points that we can’t explain. For half the decades since Arrhenius made that prediction, global temperatures have been not-behaving as Arrhenius predicted – CO2 was on the rise, and global temperatures weren’t.
Gillis provides a cherry picked random-hits list (Not only are these signs of any warming but if you make forty predictions — some will work out, it’s quite difficult to fail on all forty):
The scientists told us that the Arctic would warm especially fast. They told us to expect heavier rainstorms. They told us heat waves would soar. They told us that the oceans would rise. All of those things have come to pass.
Considering this most basic test of a scientific theory, the test of prediction, climate science has established its validity.
The globe has two poles, and the Arctic warmed but the Antarctic did the opposite. On a yes-no question, a 50% success rate is not “success” but random luck.
As evidence, Gillis links to model predictions of “heat waves” that haven’t even happened yet. For “heavier rain” he links to a story from 2014 that he wrote that is almost cut n paste identical to the current story — same cause and effect problem. Hello, Justin — what kind of warming will not cause water to evaporate from the ocean leading to more rain? (What goes up must come down). If the solar dynamo was warming Earth, we’d see these exact same events. The only difference is that solar theories explain more of the turning points and far more of the history.
Read more at JoNova
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