The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Climate Science: the Marxism of our age

Steven Hayward on the embarrassing way in which the Global Warming brigade tried to get mileage out of the tsunami disaster:

Although a few environmental activists have attempted to back away from these ludicrous and embarrassing statements, the predictability with which climate change was linked to a geological event shows the difficulty of taking climate change seriously. Climate change is a legitimate issue, but between the shabby way environmentalists and the Left exploit it, and the faulty record of so many past predictions of the eco-apocalypse, deep skepticism remains the sensible default position.

For climate alarmists, climate change has become what logicians call a "non-falsifiable hypothesis." Every weather anomaly is said to be a sign of climate change.

In his brilliant and influential article, "Conjectures and Refutations", Karl Popper recalled his experience of the fashions for psychoanalysis and the Marxist theory of history:

A Marxist could not open a newspaper without finding on every page confirming evidence for his interpretation of history; not only in the news, but also in its presentation-which revealed the class bias of the paper-and especially of course in what the paper did not say. The Freudian analysts emphasized that their theories were constantly verified by their "clinical observations." As for Adler, I was much impressed by a personal experience. Once, in 1919, 1 reported to him a case which to me did not seem particularly Adlerian, but which he found no difficulty in analysing in terms ofhis theory of inferiority feelings, although he had not even seen the child. Slightly shocked, I asked him how he could be so sure. "Because of my thousandfold experience," he replied; whereupon I could not help saying: "And with this newcase, I suppose, your experience has become thousand-and-one-fold."

To Popper, this attitude to possibly refractory experience, this treating of a treasured hypothesis as if it could not be falsified, was what distinguished the pseudo-scientist from the true scientist.

Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

I have yet to hear of any climatic phenomenon that the Global Warming theory prohibits.

The climate scientist is the Marxist of our own age: finding confirmation for his theory whatever the weather brings and whatever it fails to bring.


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