Thursday, November 20, 2008

Questioning Methodology Used in Climate Change Assertions

I have just read one of the most intellectually honest assessments of the issue of global warming and climate change that I have seen to date. In the interest of full disclosure, the author is a friend of mine from college. She was always much smarter than I so when I heard that she had written on the issue of climate change (which is, as she stated, right up my meteorological alley), I was very eager to hear her thoughts and approach.

Even though she looks at this issue from a mathematical and statistical viewpoint, she does so in a way that is understandable. In this article she does not address the issue of anthropogenic global warming. She does address the issue of global warming itself and questions the methodology used by climate scientists.

In summary, she challenges the methods used in measuring global temperatures and finds them to be subjective, at best. Because research results depend on computer models, and computer models depend upon subjective, incomplete data supplied by humans, she calls into question the results. She writes,

“I am describing an inherent subjectivity in all endeavors entirely dependent on computer modeling. What comes out is simply a function of what goes in. You program the computer to spit out whatever number you want. And the decision of what goes in is ultimately subjective. Unlike the situation in other sciences where methodology interacts with reality, and you get the results you get whether you like it or not; computers do not interact with the real world. The computer model does not get feedback from reality, only from the programmer. There is no way to cut out the subjective input and values of the programmer from the process. The only check and balance that exist in a field comprised of entirely computer modeling is the community of scientists and their subjective approval of one's programming. It is no wonder that "consensus" is used so much to describe climate change.”

I also like the quote she uses on the sidebar of her blog because it describes perfectly the efforts of many to shut down the debate on this subject, “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.”-- Michael Crichton, author, film and TV producer (1942-2008)

This is the main link to the blog, Freedom 2 Question.

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