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.

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