Sunday, May 27, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 7: The Climate Science Mystique

When I was in high school some of my favorite classes were science classes: biology, general science, physics, chemistry, etc. And I did really well in all of them. As far as math is concerned, I aced every single class, with a perfect score in each final exam, including the NY State Regents exams. If I hadn't fallen in love head over heels with music, I might well have decided to become a scientist of some sort: a physicist, mathematician, biologist, chemist, astronomer, etc. It never would have occurred to me in a million years, however, to become a climate scientist -- that was simply off my radar. Nor can I imagine any young person of my generation with both a serious interest in science and a real aptitude for it hankering to pursue a career in climate science. Maybe it's just me, but the prospect of doing that sort of research just seems too utterly boring for words.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 6: Let Me Count the Ways

This post is going to be very simple, but also, I'm afraid, rather devastating. What follows is a list of some of the most serious problems with the mainstream "climate change" paradigm and some of the many attempts to shore it up. I won't attempt to argue any of these points in any detail, as they have already been argued at length either on this blog or elsewhere, but simply present them in as succinct a manner as possible.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 5:Still more "saving hypotheses"

Still more "saving hypotheses" on  the part of true believers.

But first a brief summary of claims I've already debunked:

1. The mid-twentieth century hiatus in global temperatures can be explained by the cooling efffect of industrial aerosols (see the second post in this series).

2. Sea level rise isn't correlated with CO2 emissions, because, according to blogger CCHolley, it's "highly variable about the mean level due to the hydrological cycle," and besides "sea level rise correlating to temperatures has nothing to do with the cause of the temperature rise," and besides "perfect correlation to temperature would not be expected because ice will not stop melting just because warming stopped, it takes time for the ice to reach thermal equilibrium. . ." -- none of which has the slightest bearing on  the fact that it's impossible to claim a cause-effect relation if no correlation exists, for whatever reason (see also the third post in this series.)

3. Evidence that sea level rise has actually declined over the last several years can be explained by the cooling effects of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, which masked the expected accelaration (see the previous post in this series).

Now for some more examples:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 4:Yet another "saving hypothesis"

Despite a significant amount of evidence that would appear to contradict the prevailing theory of "anthropomorphic global warming" (AGW), many activists either dismiss it as "lies" or attempt to explain it away with "saving hypotheses" of the sort we've already encountered in previous posts. I'll be providing several examples of such attempts to explain away the evidence, but since I've been discussing the topic of sea level rise, let's begin with a further consideration of that issue.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change -- part 3: Sea Level

Violations of Occam's Razor, along the lines examined already in my previous post, are in fact rather common in the "scientific" literature supporting the so-called "consensus" view of climate change. The following excerpt from the previously quoted Wikipedia article on  Occam's Razor states the issue quite succinctly:
[F]or each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there is always an infinite number of possible and more complex alternatives, because one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified . . . (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor#Ockham)
The widely accepted notion that sulfur dioxide aerosols from the burning of fossil fuels were responsible for the mid-20th century hiatus in global warming (see previous post) is only one of many similar examples I could provide. In this post, I will focus on a more fundamental issue, that of sea level rise.

Here's what I wrote on this topic in a recent post on the RealClimate blog:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change - part 2

As I stated in my response on the RealClimate blog, the apparently very reasonable argument presented by CCHolley (see my previous post) raises epistemological issues that call for additional discussion  and analysis. Epistemology, of course, is the philosophy of knowledge and the means by which we may attain  it. While it is sometimes contrasted with metaphysics, if we take the literal meaning of metaphysics, i.e., that which is "prior to physics," into account then  epistemology can be seen as a branch of metaphysics. It's not difficult to see that science must be grounded in certain basic principles that cannot themselves be subject to the usual sort of scientific testing, but must be accepted as "prior" to any type of scientific investigation. Among these, for example, is the employment of simple two-valued logic in the evaluation of any claim. Another example would be Occam's Razor, to which I'll be referring presently.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Thoughts on Climate Change

Haven't posted anything here in a long time, so please forgive the sudden intrusion. I'm here now because I've decided to use this blog as a venue for freely and fully sharing my thoughts on  the extremely controversial topic of climate change without having to worry over whether or not I'm taking up too much bandwidth on someone else's forum. For the last few years I've been posting comments from time to time on the RealClimate blog, a gathering, for the most part, of hard line "climate change" advocates, who usually find me extremely irritating, but can't resist responding to my posts nevertheless. Typically I will post some thought or quote some source that they object to; they will offer what I often consider rather lame responses, so I feel obligated to set them straight, which in turn prompts more responses from them and so it goes until everyone gets either bored or annoyed or frustrated and either I wind up backing off or my posts start getting exiled to their "Bore Hole" (don't ask).

I recently decided that there was no longer any point in continuing a prolonged debate that was going nowhere and promised to cease and desist from further responses on that topic. After making that decision, however, I noticed that one of my most persistent critics had actually posted what appeared to be a sensible response to an objection of mine, grounded in a basic principle of Occam's Razor -- specifically that certain "explanations" offered by certain climate scientists to account for evidence that, on  its face, appeared to falsify their theory, could be understood as what has been called "saving hypotheses," i.e., attempts to save a failing theory by pointing to additional factors that make everything "come out  right." As I see it, the interjection of such factors violates Occam's Razor by introducing unnecessary complications for the sole purpose of rescuing an hypothesis that would otherwise be inconsistent with the evidence.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Consume Mass Quantities!

Caught in the trap of life, man is moved by a field of attraction determined by a flash point where solid forms are destroyed, where the various objects that constitute the world are consumed as in a furnace of light.  -- Georges Bataille
I've been thinking about the good Reverend Earwhigger's emphasis on the consumer as key to solving the present crisis (see previous post) -- but I've come up with a solution very different from what he's proposed. (He shouldn't feel badly, however. He was my inspiration!)

It seems to me that what we need from the consumer is not a boycott (see previous post), but the exact opposite, i.e. exactly what the Gods of Capitalism created the consumer to achieve: consumption. Mass consumption. The consumption of mass quantities. In other words (the words of Bataille): Expenditure Without Reserve!

Did you watch 60 Minutes recently? I'm thinking of the segment hosted by the ever-lovely, ever wise Lesley Stahl, the one on truffles. Did you know that a single meal featuring truffles in a top French restaurant can cost $1,000 or more? So why not go for it? Grab that credit card, hop a flight to Paris, preferably First Class, make your dinner reservation, enjoy your meal, and be sure to spend the rest of your stay in a first class hotel.

Why, you say? Well, let's face it, the world economy is due for a total collapse, but the powers that be are doing everything in their power to delay the inevitable. Meanwhile, since the only arrow in their quivering quiver is spelled "austerity," it seems that their solution is to squeeze every last drop of blood from the 99% in order to protect the vast wealth of the 1%. If things continue along such lines for very much longer (and it looks like they will), then all us ordinary folk, workers, middle class, professionals, ne'er do wells, always do wells, under achievers, over achievers, college grads (with huge debt loads) and high school dropouts (with huge families) alike, will be forced into bankruptcy -- or worse (if you've racked up student debts they won't let you go bankrupt, you'll become their slave).

The longer they kick the can down the road to preserve the "economy" for the banks and the super-rich, the worse it's going to get for the rest of us. So what is needed, if we want to survive, is some strategy to force their hand, i.e., to bring the whole absurd mess down around their necks, Sampson style, as soon as humanly possible. Only then will the spell of the Plutogarchs be broken; only then will society be free to pick up the pieces, recognizing that what is important is not money, but resources, both natural and human, managed by true representatives of the people, not the super-wealthy and their minions, whose wealth will have evaporated into thin air once the money mirage concocted exclusively for their own benefit and at our expense has lifted.

So, who will be our Sampson? In some past posts, I've nominated the workers, and I still think a united international movement of organized workers, aided and abetted by sympathizers among the middle class, professionals, students, etc., could achieve a great deal. However, the Reverend H.C. Earwhigger ridiculed that idea as hopelessly outdated and perhaps he's right. For him, it is the consumer who is all powerful. And I have to admit that on reflection there is definitely some truth in that. But a consumer boycott won't work, because for one thing consumption is already down and for another, consumer boycotts are effective only when very precisely targeted, which means they can only have a very limited effect.

Nevertheless, there IS something we consumers can do to trash the "economy" and I'm not sure why I never thought of that before. What has brought our financial system to the brink of disaster has been reckless borrowing. And because we borrowed so much we are now very cautious about how much we spend and are reluctant to borrow much more. Nevertheless, because the powers that be are now in panic mode and not thinking straight, it is now actually almost as easy to borrow today as it ever was. Just check out those automobile commercials. No money down, easy terms, easy credit no problem. Same with mortgages, which are now selling for the lowest interest rates in history. Same with credit card debt, student debt, etc.

So, we now have it within our power to resume the same destructive process that blew the last bubble, only this time, if we really gird our loins and try, we can blow the damned thing up literally to kingdom come. It will, of course, take organization. Don't try this at home folks, until you're sure you won't be alone. It will require the mobilization of consumers on a vast scale, for sure, in every corner of the world where credit is easily available (in other words, just about everywhere).

Once we are organized, then hold onto your hats. We'll start buying everything in sight, en masse. Need a new car? Why settle for a Ford or Chevy when you can buy an Audi, BMW, or better yet, a Mercedes or Cadillac? Already own a house? Why not buy a summer place, preferably in the Hamptons? Think you can't get the loan? Well think again. The "market," especially the housing market, but also the automobile market, is as starved for attention as a teen age delinquent. Get out that credit card and if that isn't enough, head for your local bank. If they turn you down, try another, I can almost guarantee you'll find some bank eager to loan you just about whatever you want.

Students, don't be shy. Step right up to that admissions office and sign yourself up for the biggest student loan you can get, preferably for the full four years, and at the most expensive Ivy League school that will take you. They'll be down on their knees with gratitude, because a great many of these hallowed institutions are now in deep deep trouble.

If millions of us go on a spree all at once, all at the same time, borrowing to the hilt and buying whatever we damn please, spending like crazy and without reserve, we can send that bubble soaring into the stratosphere. All it will take will be a tiny pea from the tiniest pea shooter you can imagine to bring it down. And all the King's horses and all the King's men will NOT be able to put that damned phoney baloney "economy" together again.

Amen!


 
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