- AGW alarmists could have made their case quite simply by collecting and making available solid evidence to support their hypothesis, and by defending it in the court of scientific inquiry.
måndag 16 augusti 2010
The Burden of Proof of Climate Alarmism
A scientific truth is not established by merely lack of contradicting (negative) evidence; there must also be sufficient positive evidence. Similarly, you cannot be convicted for a crime on merely lack of evidence that you are innocent. Lack of an alibi is not enough to put you up in the death row. Lack of evidence that someone else did what was done, is not enough to convict you.
IPCC climate alarmism rests on a fundamental scientific postulate stating that doubled atmospheric CO2 will cause global warming of (about) 1 C. IPCC combines this postulate with various feedbacks and comes up with the alarming prediction of global warming in the range 2 - 4.5 C.
Without the basic postulate of 1 C, the feedbacks have nothing to feed on and the IPCC prediction collapses.
Is it necessary to motivate a basic postulate? If in a trial the basic postulate is that you were
seen at the place of crime with a bloody knife in your hand, is it necessary to give evidence
to this effect to prove you guilty? Of course! The basic postulate has to be motivated. You are not free to just assume anything and then draw conclusions.
How does then IPCC motivate the basic postulate of 1 C from doubled CO2, that is a climate sensitivity of 1 C? IPCC presents the case along the following three lines of argumentation:
I. Lack of Evidence.
IPCC claims that there is lack of evidence that something else but CO2 caused the (main part of the) observed warming of 0.7 C during the 20th century.
II. Stefan-Boltzmann's Blackbody Radiation Law
IPCC claims that the 1 C is a direct consequence of Stefan-Boltzmann's Blackbody Radiation Law combined with a supporting basic postulate of atmospheric radiative forcing of 4 W/m2 from doubled atmospheric CO2. The connection is dQ ~ 4 dT by Stefan-Boltzmann with dQ = 4 and dT = 1, with the crucial dQ = 4 claimed to be motivated by either observation
or absorption spectra of socalled "greenhouse gases".
Is this science? Is it possible to isolate one aspect (CO2) of a complex global climate with highly idealized radiative forcing data?
This is like giving a diagnosis of a patient starting off with Fourier's law of heat conduction as a model of body temperature with the prediction that it will increase by 1 C every hour. With such a starting point the medication of putting the patient in a freezer will lead to a sure death.
III. Small Cause - Big Effect
IPCC admits that CO2 is a trace gas, a very small cause, but then suggests that this very small cause can have a big global warming effect. This is believed to be a clever argument: Clearly it may be very difficult to disprove that a very small cause can have a large effect, because to do so requires a very precise model.
To directly disprove that the flap of butterfly in the Amazonas cannot cause a heat wave in the former Soviet Union, is not easy.
But the burden of proof lies on the one who claims that the small cause has a big effect. So when IPCC admits that CO2 is a trace gas, IPCC also makes it very difficult to come up with direct evidence that this small cause has a big effect, because to do so requires a very precise climate model, and such a model is lacking.
Compare with Climate change alarmists ignore scientific methods by Walter Cunningham, Geophysicist and former fighter pilot and Apollo 7 astronaut noting that
The basic postulate of IPCC climate alarmism lacks convincing scientific support. To draw
conclusions and make predictions based on this postulate is not science. To build politics
on scientific postulates which lack scientific support, can be disastrous.
To interprete a truism (triviality or definition) as a deep physical fact and build a theory on the truism, cannot be science.
If physicists and scientific academies made these facts of physics and science clear to the general public, IPCC alarmism would collapse, but they don't. Is it because the basic postulate is beyond their capacity to grasp and thus cannot be questioned?
V. Perspective: Truism vs Deep Physical Fact
If we now understand that climate alarmism is based on a truism elevated to a profound physical fact, it is natural to ask if this is a feature of modern physics? Who was the master of elevating a truism (e.g. a definition) to deep physics? Yes, you are right, Einstein! The postulate of special relativity of constancy of the speed of light, is a truism because by definition the speed of light is one lightsecond per second. The postulate of general relativity of the equality of heavy and intertial mass is also a trusim, because there is only one mass, namely inertial mass. For details see, Many-Minds Relativity and Did Einstein Not Understand Mathematics?
We are led to the conclusion that the reason that physicists do not question the basic postulate
of climate science, is that they are trained to elevate truisms to deep physics. Is this a truism or a deep real fact?