Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Everything proves everything

I've been chewing on this one for a while.  Last week, I saw a post someplace- probably Ace again- that mentioned the latest "proof" of global warming.   I chewed on it, saw it again on Grouchy Old Cripple, chewed some more, and then decided to get writin'.

So here goes.  Last week, a new study came out from Germany, which reveals the exciting news that, while global warming is still occurring, it will take a holiday for the next decade or so.

Why, you ask?  Because the earth will compensate for our carbon dioxide excess.  Naturally, and without any help.

Now contemplate this for a moment.  The earth can adjust to offset increases in CO2, without any help.  The planet doesn't even need to buy carbon offsets from The Source Of All Knowledge, His Eminence AlGore.  It just does it!

The more I thought about this article and this study, the more it bothered me.  On an intellectual level.  What we're actually seeing here is an article in a scientific journal which has major issues, to say the least.  The logic of it all is astounding, and not in a good way.

So let's play a bit of an intellectual exercise here.  For the sake of argument, we'll assume the following:  1) The earth is warming. 2) The warming is caused by mankind.

Let's stress here that this is strictly an exercise.  I don't agree with either of these assumptions, for many reasons.

Okay, so the earth is warming.  What this latest study says is that, while the warming is occurring, it'll take a decade off- that the earth might actually cool for the next 10 years, despite the fact that our actions are continuing down the same path as before.

In other words, global warming is continuing, even if the globe is cooling.

Brilliant, no?  Disprove this one.  The theory says that global temperatures are increasing, and that it's caused by mankind.  If global temperatures rise, it proves global warming.  However, if they fall or stay the same, then it's okay, because the theory of global warming also predicts this.

It's called covering all bases.

So here's a recap:  If temperatures rise, it's because mankind is using too much CO2, and affecting the earth.  If temperatures fall, it's because the earth is compensating (somehow) for the fact that mankind is using too much CO2 and affecting the earth.

But if the earth can compensate for our (presumed) errors in the short term, then is it not possible that it can do the same over the longer term?  In other words, is it not possible that, as many have suggested, the earth itself (or nature) can survive and flourish despite our efforts?  That we are not the masters of nature that we think we are?  If the earth can adjust to stop temperatures from increasing for a decade, why not a century?  Or a millenia?  Or an Eon?  

It crossed my mind from the outset that this is a deliberate act, to buy time.  It's been shown recently that temperatures are not increasing, but falling from the (modern) peak year of (if I recall correctly) 1998.  But now this study will let people off the hook, and give the global warming fanatics another 10 years to come up with another study to prove that it's happening.

At some point, the world will be in the grips of an ice age, and global warming fans will be claiming that it's just a temporary thing, and that in another 8 years the world will be too hot for human life.

The whole thing strikes me as a brilliant bit of propaganda.  Skeptics have long maintained that we're not able to affect the weather over the entire world as much as global warming believers claim.  Now, the argument has been co-opted to "prove" global warming again.  If temperatures increase, it's the obvious proof of Warming.  But now, if they decrease, this latest study has taken that argument away from the Skeptics- after all, scientists predicted a short-term decrease.   And it still fits within the framework of global warming "proof".

But on a rational basis, it seems like nonsense.  To me at least.  For the next 10 years, any attempt by skeptics to argue, using empirical data, that the entire concept of "global warming" is junk, can be tossed aside, since we know that the cooling that we (presumably) would be experiencing is "predicted" by other data.  My guess is that sometime within the next 10 years there will be another new study that will disprove the latest argument of the skeptics.  

Not really, but so the media will inform us all.

The big issue here is rationality.  As this new study shows, everything "proves" global warming- and nothing that seems to disprove it actually does so.  If one scientist says that the occurrence of A proves that B is happening, great.  It might not actually "prove" B, but it gives us a baseline.  Now we're being told that the non-occurrence of A (or even better, what logicians call Not A) also "proves" B.  As does the occurrence of C, Not C, D and Not D, and so on.

It's no longer possible to make an argument against global warming.  Not because there are no rational points to be made, but simply because it isn't allowed.  And because any argument that does slip through the cracks is met with a "no you're wrong" approach which we're then told "proves" the argument wrong.  Not to mention that the skeptic is of course being paid to deny global warming.

When rational, honest to God scientists tell you that you simply can't argue against a conclusion anymore, and that there's no room for skepticism, then I smell a rat.

My final thought is this:  If everything "proves" global warming is happening, then nothing "proves" it.  You can't have it every way.

We now return to my normal attitude, where the assumption of global warming is regarded as a load of crap.