Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dumb Looks Still Free: What I saw at the Revolution

My studies were just a little before this time -- got my AB in Geology in 1974 and my MS in Geophysics in 1980 (about -- my memory is a little fuzzy on the exact date ;-), but I remember these days, and this is why I have *_ALWAYS_* been skeptical of the theories of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  This is a great blog post that all geologists (make that all geoSCIENTISTS) should read:

Dumb Looks Still Free: What I saw at the Revolution
I have been very fortunate to be at the outskirts of two major revolutions in science while getting my Bachelor's degree. Each of them were very memorable as they showed a side of science that those outside of it do not see and often cannot fathom. Doing science from the inside is not what you see on the outside, and no program, no speech, no series of papers or even books can describe the actual living through of scientific revolutions. As it was in a period of a few years two major changes in geology and materials science would happen during a short span in the 1980's. What science is and how it works changed my perception of it during those few short years of undergraduate work and they remain with me to this day.


Those papers were the norm in science, but the takedown of the critics by pure analysis and reason was something that was hard hitting.

The Alvarez team did NOT hide data, but welcomed it.

The Alvarez team did NOT engage in personal attacks, but examined the data and criticized it.

The Alvarez team did NOT attempt to suborn journals and periodicals or try to create an in-group that would just check each other.

They welcomed every critic with data, every analysis and proposed alternatives, they welcomed, and I suspect with glee, being able to respond to their critics openly in the forum of scientific investigation.

It was brutal.


This brings me to the recent activity in Climategate.

As a geologist, though not a current practicing one, I went through two Revolutions in the sciences: K-T Impact Theory and higher temperature superconductivity. Their hallmarks are touchstones in science as a whole, as they represent openness, welcoming of criticism (indeed even reveling in it), and the open by-play of scientists and labs as they work to see what is and is not there in the way of what can be found from examination and analysis of specimens. The data gathered is critical to how science works, and the open display of it and willingness to hand it over to critics is something you don't get from much of anywhere else in life.

The very first warning signs on Antrhopogenic Global Warming (AGW) and just plain old GW came from the paleoclimatologists who tried to run the models made for AGW/GW against known climates and what those models would predict for those climates. The models came through with junk, not even getting close to the actual climates they were tested against. When the paleoclimatologists asked for the datasets from those pushing AGW (mainly EA CRU, but elsewhere) they were stalled and rebuffed. Coming just after the K-T event and its aftermath, paleoclimatologists were not slow in criticizing the models, how they did not form into anything resembling known past climates nor did the models explain how those climates changed.

AGW/GW advocates refused to come out an play in the full contact body sport that was geology.

They retreated to the hothouse of academia, environmentalism and seeking to 'extract' government grants for their perfect theory of how bad man was to planet Earth. Apparently they couldn't model how nasty Earth was to life forms during the Permo-Triassic that saw over 95% of all species perish... but then geologists don't put an anthropomorphic form of the Earth on a pedestal and worship her. If you DID anthropomorphize the planet it would come out looking far worse than Pol Pot and all other mass murderers, combined, with just a hint of Charles Manson thrown in for fun. But then those seeking to castigate man don't bother to look at Earth's history, either.

There is no single good source of science nor bad source of science: there is only good science and bad science.

Lysenko convinced Stalin that there was a 'Bourgeois' Science, that was BAD, and a 'Communist Science', that was GOOD. That moving of science into political ideology set the USSR back decades in genetics research which, given what they got up to in their later years, we can all be thankful for. Yet that marriage of politics and science that is Lysenkoism now runs deep in the West: environmentalists are above suspicion because of good intents, and those working in the petroleum industry are evil and not to be believed. Which is Lysenkoism, at its heart.

Science is simply getting reproducible results given a set of circumstances.

You can be funded by the worst possible institutions and still perform science, although it might be immoral (such as the Nazi experiments on concentration camp prisoners) which leaves you with a hard problem of what to do with methodical and repeatable results garnered by horrific and immoral means. Saying that you will give blanket trust to one scientist over another based on who funds them, outside of the Nazi example, means you are acting with a faith that there is good and bad science by its source. And that is Lysenkoism.

Do I 'trust' work done by environmentalist groups?

Show me the data, tell me the parameters and I will test that against the knowns of science and see how it stacks up.

But then I do the EXACT SAME THING with research from ANY source be it government, private, commercial... I may read results for interest in them, but they need to be cross-compared to other work in the field. Yet when any field is being tampered with by researchers seeking to shut some researchers out and only 'allow' others to be published and then seek to 'punish' journals that don't follow their wishes, I have problems. And when the groups doing that are backed by governments and 'international' groups, those become extreme problems.

EA CRU refused to show their data for decades.

They didn't welcome criticism nor engage with critics and examine data outside their realm of knowledge.

They, and their associates, attempted to stifle private and government inquiry, beyond that of their scientific peers, and shut down the free-flow of information that, like in superconductive research, is the life blood of science.

When heads of government agency collude to stymie that free flow of information, as has happened with both NASA/Goddard and NOAA, you get a chilling effect on the free flow of information by the use of the threat of government power, even if there is no reality to it.

Is there 'global warming'?

I certainly hope so as there is a marked difference in global temps between now and 12,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

Is what we are seeing human caused?

So far as I can see by all data from previous inter-glacial periods: nothing we see now is out of the ordinary. That 'ordinary' typically sees rapid and sudden swings in global temps up and down and there is no good model for it. As no values of measured atmospherics or temps are outside of previous inter-glacial periods, I would say we are within all norms for such periods. If it is 'human caused' it is not outside of those norms. Get back to me when there is better data. EA CRU lost a lot of current stuff and it needs to be re-gathered. Ditto on our government agencies.

Are we a threat to all species?

See the Permo-Triassic above? Earth is a threat to all species. Stop idolizing Mother Earth and demonizing humans as you are doing yourself no good running into the arms of a killer and away from those offering a chance at a better life. I trust Mother Earth to pay ZERO attention to mankind and continue on her normal state of affairs which includes a number of large scale disasters that WILL happen with or without us hanging around, and a few of them just might be OUR silver bullet with OUR name on it. I would like to get out of the clutches of Mother Earth, thanks. The planet needs no saving.

But isn't it right to assume that the Earth is warming?

Show me the data. EA CRU in their own files admit they can no longer: 1) Produce uncorrupted data sets, 2) repeat previous runs on data to get reproducible results, 3) have cherry picked data sets to get certain results. They now have papers with no underlying data, no way to reproduce the results and with artifacts of selectively chosen data sets that are not representative of larger data sets. That is not a good thing to base an assumption upon as it is indicative of fraud, not openness of scientific research. When fraud takes place you default to the last known good state prior to the fraud if you can. Here that means relegating a raft of papers to limbo until they can be re-analyzed. Anything based on the corrupted EA CRU, GISS or NOAA data sets past 1960 are now suspect and not to be considered valid until they are thoroughly re-analyzed in light of current findings. Papers without data, without backing and that cannot be repeated to get valid results are not papers that can be considered doing science. Science is a full contact body sport, no handicapping allowed. No padding either. The Alvarez team is one that I admire deeply as they waded right into the fray and defended themselves in the open process of science, and didn't resort to popular TV to make their case, nor to politicians, nor to issue advocacy groups. The Alvarez team did SCIENCE and joyously. Too bad the AGW/GW advocates can't do that and wish to stifle the free flow of information. That gets you where the USSR is today.

And that is not a good place.

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