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Explaining Climate Change

Jack Hays

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[h=2]Aliens Cause Global Warming[/h]January 31st, 2019
Crichton-state-of-fear.jpg
Yesterday I was reminded of this brilliant lecture by the late Dr. Michael Crichton, American author, screenwriter, director, and producer. Some of his more notable works include The Andromeda Strain (1969), Jurassic Park(1990), State of Fear (2004), The Great Train Robbery (1979), Twister(1996), and ER (1994-2009). John Christy and I were the basis for one of the characters in his book State of Fear.


Although I never met Dr. Crichton, he was immensely cordial and supportive of my first book when I had an email conversation with him, not long before his death in 2008. As I recall, he said he was dismayed that his 2005 congressional testimony led to so much criticism, and he was trying to avoid the subject going forward.


The themes in his 2003 lecture are just as relevant today as they were 16 years ago. I am told that some of of his works have been removed from the internet, possibly due to his controversial (non-PC) views on environmental matters. The lecture is lucid and concise, and echo the warning President Eisenhower gave in his 1961 Farewell Address about the government being in control of scientific research. I encourage you to spend 15 minutes reading it… there are gems throughout. (I have made made only very slight edits.)
Aliens Cause Global Warming
By Michael Crichton
Caltech Michelin Lecture January 17, 2003
My topic today sounds humorous but unfortunately I am serious. I am going to argue that extraterrestrials lie behind global warming. Or to speak more precisely, I will argue that a belief in extraterrestrials has paved the way, in a progression of steps, to a belief in global warming. Charting this progression of belief will be my task today.


Let me say at once that I have no desire to discourage anyone from believing in either extraterrestrials or global warming. That would be quite impossible to do. Rather, I want to discuss the history of several widely-publicized beliefs and to point to what I consider an emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science — namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy.


I have a special interest in this because of my own upbringing. I was born in the midst of World War II, and passed my formative years at the height of the Cold War. In school drills, I dutifully crawled under my desk in preparation for a nuclear attack.


It was a time of widespread fear and uncertainty, but even as a child I believed that science represented the best and greatest hope for mankind. Even to a child, the contrast was clear between the world of politics — a world of hate and danger, of irrational beliefs and fears, of mass manipulation and disgraceful blots on human history. In contrast, science held different values — international in scope, forging friendships and working relationships across national boundaries and political systems, encouraging a dispassionate habit of thought, and ultimately leading to fresh knowledge and technology that would benefit all mankind. The world might not be a very good place, but science would make it better. And it did. In my lifetime, science has largely fulfilled its promise. Science has been the great intellectual adventure of our age, and a great hope for our troubled and restless world. But I did not expect science merely to extend lifespan, feed the hungry, cure disease, and shrink the world with jets and cell phones. I also expected science to banish the evils of human thought — prejudice and superstition, irrational beliefs and false fears. I expected science to be, in Carl Sagan’s memorable phrase, “a candle in a demon haunted world.” And here, I am not so pleased with the impact of science. Rather than serving as a cleansing force, science has in some instances been seduced by the more ancient lures of politics and publicity. Some of the demons that haunt our world in recent years are invented by scientists. The world has not benefited from permitting these demons to escape free.
But let’s look at how it came to pass. . . .
 

Jack Hays

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Climate debate at the Cambridge Union - a 10 minute summary of the main problems with the standard alarmist polemic

Let me begin by asking you a question. What is the evidence that people, like the proponents here, use to prove that we humans are responsible for global warming and that future warming will be catastrophic if we don’t get our act together?The fact is that this idea is a misconception and the so called evidence we constantly hear is simply based on fallacious arguments.

To begin with, any one who appeals to authority or to a majority to substantiate his or her claim is proving nothing. Science is not a democracy and the fact that many believe one thing does not make them right. If people have good arguments to convince you, let them use the scientific arguments, not logical fallacies. Repeating it ad nauseam does not make it right!Other irrelevant arguments may appear scientific, but they are not. Evidence for warming is not evidence for warming byhumans. Seeing a poor polar bear floating on an iceberg does not mean that humans caused warming. (Actually, the bear population is now probably at its highest in modern times!). The same goes to receding glaciers. Sure, there was warming and glaciers are receding, but the logical leap that this warming is because of humans is simply an unsubstantiated claim, even more so when considering that you can find Roman remains under receded glaciers in the Alps or Viking graves in thawed permafrost in Greenland.

Other fallacious arguments include using qualitative arguments and the appeal to gut feelings. The fact that humanity is approaching 10 billion people does not prove that we caused a 0.8°C temperature increase. We could have just as much caused an 8°C increase or an 0.08°C. If all of humanity spits into the ocean, will sea level rise appreciably? In fact, there is no single piece of evidence that proves that a given amount of CO2 increase should cause a large increase in temperature. You may say, “just a second, we saw Al Gore’s movie, in which he presented a clear correlation between CO2 and temperature from Antarctic ice cores”. Well, what he didn’t tell you is that one generally sees in the ice cores that CO2 lags the temperature by typically a few hundred years, not vice versa! The simple truth is that Al Gore simply showed us how the amount of CO2 dissolved as carbonic acid in the oceans changes with temperature. As a matter of fact, over geological time scales, there were huge variations in the CO2 (a factor of 10) and they have no correlation whatsoever with the temperature. 450 million years ago there was 10 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere but more extensive glaciations.

When you throw away the chaff of all the fallacious arguments and try to distill the climate science advocated by the IPCC and alike, you find that there are actually two arguments which appear as legitimate scientific arguments, but unfortunately don’t hold water. Actually, fortunately! The first is that the warming over the 20th century is unprecedented, and if so, it must be human. This is the whole point of the hockey so extensively featured in the third assessment report of the IPCC in 2001. However if you would google “climategate” you would find that this is a result of shady scientific analysis - the tree ring data showing that there was little temperature variation over the past millennium showed a decline after 1960, so, they cut it off and stitched thermometer data. The simple truth is that in the height of the middle ages it was probably just as warm as the latter half of the 20th century. You can even see it directly with temperature measurements in boreholes. . . .
 

Manc Skipper

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Doubters are a dying breed, even in the remoter outposts of the USA.

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More so since Trump!
 

longview

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Doubters are a dying breed, even in the remoter outposts of the USA.


More so since Trump!
That kind of says more about critical thinking getting lower, than anything to do with climate science.
 
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