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Global Warming and Evolution: Intimidation the New Step in the Scientific Method

I must at the outset admit that I haven’t delved into the data that I am told substantiates the view that the earth is steadily warming. That is one reason why I have not said anything about Global Warming. I shall say that here in Wisconsin we just came off of a mighty cold spell with snows as late as April, and last year was about the same. As Wisconsin is part of the globe, I feel I can anecdotally chime in that to this point I am skeptical about the Global Warming argument. Moreover, there clearly are several different parts of the question: even if we establish that the earth is warming, it doesn’t follow that humans are causing it, and even if it is warming, it doesn’t follow that a warming earth would be all that bad (did I mention the cold Wisconsin winters?).

I won’t speak to the science of Global Warming, but I have been paying attention to the debate. In particular, I have been noticing how Global Warming proponents treat dissenters. Some Global Warming proponents have said that denying the ‘fact’ of Global Warming (or that humans are causing it) is like denying the holocaust. This is eerily reminiscent of Richard Dawkins taking aim at those who dissent with evolution with statements such as, “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

Nice.

There have been incidents where those who did not toe the Global Warming party line had their careers thrown in jeopardy.  Hmmmm.  That sounds a bit like what that Ben Stein movie, Expelled, was all about! Yes, in fact, contrary to atheistic secular rabid humanist evolutionists who watched Expelled seeking to have Intelligent Design explained and defended, the movie was not about that- it was about academic freedom and the freedom to hold differing views and perspectives and pursue lines of research (ie, have access to grant funds) that explore different thoughts.  In that, it succeeded.

Now, while Global Warming is something I haven’t probed the data on (but evolution is, so I guess I’m wicked for rejecting it), I do see the same sort of bullying by proponents of Global Warming as I see in evolution, and that pretty much means that when I do finally approach that data I’ll be much more skeptical than I would otherwise have been.

Is it possible that in this modern era the scientific method should now be understood as something like:  1.  Observe, 2. Hypothesize, 3.  Experiment, 4. Rinse and Repeat, 5. Intimidate Dissenters.

Of course this lays bare the other similarity between Evolution and Global Warming science- no experiments can be performed.  Both are comfortably outside the confines of hard empirical repeatability.  In the case of evolution it resolves around the interpretation of fossils and the extrapolation of micro-evolutionary processes (which no one has ever denied, see Genesis 30:31-33) as sufficiently able to explain macro-evolutionary phenomena.  Of course, it takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years for microevolution to produce something in that fashion, and we live a scant 90 years ourselves, so none of us will ever actually see the process alleged to be a ‘scientific fact’ play out from beginning to end.  But trust them!  It happened!  It is a scientific fact, and you are stupid, insane, or wicked to deny it!

No, it is an interpretation of the data by people who are fallible.  They may even have their own agendas.

Similarly, Global Warming we are told will have its most dramatic effects in decades, perhaps in fifty years.  We have data that we are told stretches back eons showing numerous cycles of warmer and cooler earths.  What experiment has been proposed that will be able to distinguish between such a naturally occurring pattern and a human caused warming?  None that I am aware of.  None seems possible.  Moreover, fifty years is a long time for nature to operate on its pattern- if we make the changes demanded of us today by the proponents of Global Warming and it does become cooler, how do we know it wasn’t mother nature?

Global Warming seems to me at present as inherently unfalsifiable, just as evolutionary theory is.   There is a silver lining, though:  just thirty years ago the scientific community was blaring that the earth was heading into a new ice age.  We’ve managed to go from ice age fears to global warming fears in living memory.  If it swings back again it is possible that people will realize that skepticism, true skepticism, means even being skeptical of the so-called skeptics, and will note the similarities between the defense of Global Warming and the defense of Evolutionary Theory, and turn their skepticism towards it en masse.

If Global Warming proponents begin saying, “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that)” but we continue to have cold winters or we learn that the data is not as conclusive as we are led to believe, it may behoove us to wonder about other so called scientific facts which have been presented in the same terms.

To establish something as an actual fact of reality, established by the scientific method, it shouldn’t be necessary to suppress dissenters and rely on openly mocking and deriding them, and even having their careers thwarted.  When I see that happening I am skeptical.

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5 Responses to Global Warming and Evolution: Intimidation the New Step in the Scientific Method

  1. It stopped cooling 10 years ago. It has strongly cooled for the last 2 years. The oceans have cooled. NASA has restated data and now 1934 was the warmest year, not 1998.

  2. […] more discussion about who precisely is ’silencing critics’ I direct you to another blog entry on a similar theme.  For Mr. Plimer is quite wrong:  the only people silencing critics today are […]

  3. Two things…..

    Global Warming, first, around every 12,000 – 15,000 years we go through this process of global warming and then freezing. It’s natural, and supported by many different scientific fields of study. I guess a laymen example of this could be a hula hoop. Every now and then the rotational cycle gets “jilted”, which by the way is natural for earth as it doesn’t have a perfect orbit (that is why we have seasons) Think of it as a season within a season. The debate is whether or not we are speeding up the process.

    Second, you brought up evolution as not being observable…. We really need to start listening to, and understanding the scientific method. Think about this….. The former planet Pluto….. rotation around the sun is about 210 years or so. I don’t know of anyone who watched it through a telescope for two hundred plus years, but I know exactly how intellectuals came to the conclusion of the rotational timeline. You need to understand the methods by which the conclusions are made.

  4. Hi Brett,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I don’t have anything to say about your global warming remarks.

    Regarding the evolution stuff, I am very well versed in the evidences and arguments for evolutionary theory. I am also pretty well versed in what passes as the ‘scientific method’ these days. I understand something that modern ‘scientists’ apparently do not–at least when it comes to certain topics where ‘science’ is indistinguishable from agenda. I am referring specifically to the ability to recognize the difference between empirical facts and philosophy, assumptions, and axioms.

    To take your example on the rotation of Pluto and your implied argument regarding it, you must acknowledge that the empirical observation is one part of it, and the inference is another part. The inference might be quite reasonable, and there may be no sane reason to reject the inference. But the modern evolutionary apologist demands that we regard the inference as being categorically the same as the observation. This is lunacy, pardon the astronomical pun.

    It is an inference to go from the observing of a bacteria develop antibiotic resistance to the conclusion that “And so all life arose through this mechanism.”

    You may as well argue that the house was built by salt and pepper shakers jiggling around on the kitchen table; skeptics arrive to scoff at the notion, and the evolutionist comes by and shakes the table ever so slightly, causing the salt and pepper shakers to shimmy a bit… the evolutionist says, “See?”

    When the skeptics are still not convinced, the evolutionist says, “you need to understand the methods by which the conclusions are made.”

    The skeptic retorts, “You need to be honest about which part of your methods are really grounded in empirical observation and which parts are inference, which parts come from observations, which parts are implications from models–which by definition is not an empirical reality, but rather an abstraction concocted by men to try to make sense of an empirical reality. If you want your assertion that something is ‘scientific’ to be considered ‘scientific’, then you need to apply some kind of rigorous test that actually passes as some kind of experiment; thought experiments won’t cut it. At the very least, you need to be honest enough to concede that that which is demonstrated via empirical observation and actual experiment is categorically different than that which is inferred or deduced. And if you tell me that your inference is FACT, I have no more time for you. At that point, it is not about truth, it is about your agenda, or your investment in a particular paradigm being true, or your resistance to the mere possibility of another paradigm being true. Otherwise, you would have no problem in admitting what was empirical, what was assumption, what was inference, and so on and so forth.”

    Atheists and evolutionary apologists (pardon the redundancy) understand, even if it is way deep down, that evolutionary theory is not grounded in any kind of significant and nontrivial empirical observations, tested against direct observation or other mechanisms that could actually refute their position. This is why you will hear them re-define science in terms such as “Science is what scientists do.” (Case in point- Austin Cline, one somewhat prominent atheist).

    This blatant tautology is put out there in all seriousness because it is painfully obvious to everyone that what is learned in high school science classes about what science is is nothing like what evolutionary ‘scientists’ do. In my high school science classes, I learned about the scientific method- observe, hypothesize, experiment, theorize, etc- and in college I discovered that modern ‘scientists’ had abandoned this. Rather than admit that what they do now- and I am speaking in particular of evolutionary branches of so-called ‘science’- is not compatible with the scientific method, they are forced to retreat and merely say that ‘science is what scientists do.’

    So, if a scientist wakes up in the morning and cleans the wax out of his ears, that is science. Right? Or something like that. 😉 At least according to Austin Cline and the guys at TalkOrigins.

    To tie it back to this post, we know that they know that they are promulgating an absurdity when they resort to bullying. They are not men enough to concede the plain facts, because the plain facts are not sturdy enough to hold their agenda.

    I for one reserve the right to consider this notion of science as simple and utter nonsense, and people can assail me on it all they like. Real science can put a man on the moon, and track Pluto, because real science has the habit of being useful. The most good that evolutionary theory will ever do is tell us not to give antibiotics if you have a virus. Oh, and that there is no God. Those are pretty much the only two things that evolutionary theory are good for, and we can actually arrive at those conclusions without evolutionary theory. I guess that means I’ve changed my mind: it’s actually not good for anything at all. 🙂

    Again, thanks for the comment.

  5. […] This was exposed by Ben Stein’s Expelled, which I already discussed here. […]

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