måndag 10 oktober 2011

What Does a (Climate) Scientist Need to Know?

The recent posts on DLR brings up the following question concerning the responsibility of a scientist:

We know that an engineer is responsible for calculating the load capacity of a bridge, and that a medical doctor is responsible for the treatment of a patient. If the engineer is miscalculating and the bridge collapses or the doctor is prescribing the wrong medication and the patient dies, then legal process may follow. Engineers and doctors are simply required to know enough.

But what is a scientist required to know? Is a scientist required to understand the physical laws the scientist is using? Can a scientist be sued for using an incorrect law without justification?
Is a scientist required to know enough?

A concrete case is offered by the phenomenon of DLR underlying CO2 climate alarmism, which is based on a Stefan Boltzmann law of the form
  • R = R_out - R_in, where R_out = sigma T^4 and R_in = sigma T_b^4,
where R is the net radiance from a (black) body of temperature T into a background of temperature T_b, and R_out is the radiance from the body and R_in is the radiance received by the body from the background. The net radiance/flow R is thus expressed as the difference between two gross flows R_out and R_in.

Suppose now that there is no original source of this SB law, that the law is a misinterpretation of correct law with scientific source of the form
  • R = sigma (T^4 - T_b^4),
with only net flow and no gross flows, and as misinterpretation is a law without physical meaning. Suppose that a scientist is using the false law without asking for its justification, simply taking it for granted because this is what some other scientists seem to be doing.

What is then the responsibility of the scientist? Does a scientist need to understand the physical laws used in the scientific work, or is it enough to simply copy and paste taking for granted that what is printed is correct? Can a scientist be sued for malpractice?

Does a climate scientist need to understand the proof of the SB law the scientist is using, or is it enough to copy and paste the law?

Suppose somebody asks for the origin of a certain SB law used by a certain scientist. Is the scientist then required to supply the origin?

These questions connect to the question I have posed to Prof Petty concerning DLR.

2 kommentarer:

  1. Are scientists obliged to answer questions from cranks? No.