I hate to say that I don’t “Believe” in science, rather I mean I don’t think of science as a belief system. It is not a religion. It is a systematic testing of hypothesis. It is not anecdotal quid pro quo. It is a procedure which passes muster so long as nothing contrary is discovered. Once it is contrary, then no matter how elegant the hypothesis is, it is just plain wrong.
But testing some things are difficult. Models, in particular, are basically hypothesis. They are not “truths.” They are not facts, but projections, opinions, in short, models. Seemingly the public has a view that models are proven facts. That is, in a nutshell, the problem with the anthropological global warming (AGW) hypothesis. The facts do not support any significant change in temperatures, and temperatures have varied far greater than the supposed accuracy of these models. The very data has been omitted, skewed or outright changed as NOAA’s AGW cheerleaders attempt to make the case for higher temperatures. Therefore, they are claiming elegant ideas are facts, but in truth are unproven speculation. Making economic decisions on the basis of speculation could be disastrous.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop at climate change. I see things that are simply not supported by any study, or is supported by only a few instances out of hundreds of trials. For instance, California suspects that the chemical herbicide Roundup is cancer causing. One EU study said it might possibly be, but hundreds of other tests suggest it is not. The EU recently recertified the use of Roundup in Europe and California is being challenged in court over its ruling. Will it cause cancer? I don’t know, but I know that there is no evidence it will that stands up to scrutiny.
Another claims made is that when solar flares erupt off the sun, a magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquake is likely within 72 hours. But guess what? There are about 100 earthquakes of that magnitude or greater annually… or 1 every 3.65 days. Therefore, there is a high degree of likelihood that a 6.0 quake will occur within three days of any given event. Some argue forcefully that this is the case, yet the people who study this the most are prone to say there is no statistical correlation.
The same is said about super tides, the moon when at a “super-moon” peak (when it is closest to earth in its elliptical orbit) is supposed to trigger earthquakes. And another argument is that a major earthquake will trigger a volcanic eruption. It is true that earthquakes are associated with volcanoes, but that hardly suggests a quake hundreds of miles away has any direct correlation. Nor is the reverse true, a volcano in Alaska isn’t going to cause an earthquake in Mexico, regardless a quake occurs shortly after the volcano erupts.
In my lifetime, the idea that science is right is being challenged. In fact, the internet has spread this silliness but it was by no means the product solely of the internet age. Erich Van Danikan is notable among folks of this ilk, who postulate absurd theories about Mayan spacemen, or Egyptians sailing up the Arkansas River to end up in the panhandle of Oklahoma.
But the most bizarre of claims seem to be surrounding reputed global warming. First, glaciers in the Alps have exposed trees covered as the ice sheets grew. Those trees were then submitted for sampling and determined to have been growing about the 11th Century. In other words, the glacier was smaller then, and grew, mostly likely in the “Little Ice Age” (LIA) when priests were attempting exorcisms in an effort to keep glaciers from destroying towns. So a shrinking glacier is merely the cyclical representation of past climate changes and has nothing to do with long-term or catastrophic climate change.
Nevertheless, a researcher said the polar bears are doing fine, and the GW cheerleaders have blistered her as wrong and stupid, yet the population of polar bears is very high compared to anytime in the 1950 – 1980 era. Likewise, the popular press, aka Fake Science News, claims grapes will grow scarce due to global warming, oysters will wane for the same reason, bananas may become scarcer. Al Gore argued that malaria will spread further north, or has already and new diseases like West Nile or Zika are products of AGW.
It was predicted that millions of “climate refugees” would have to leave the coast as sea level increase, and some argue that the 1 cm increase in mean sea level in the past 100 years has caused more flooding. Despite zero evidence that hurricanes have increased in frequently, Harvey was blamed on AGW. This beside the fact we had a record ten years of no landfall of a major hurricane in the U. S. Most AGW claims about sea level rise are actually ignoring the fact that cities built upon deltas are actually sinking, the sea is not rising. New Orleans, Venice, Italy, and Alexandria are poster children for deltaic soil compaction. Paradoxically, AGW advocates claim “global warming” is causing both HOT weather and COLD weather. That is the epitome of irrational doublespeak.
In the end, only science that can be tested and verified is true science. Speculation, even supported by elegant super computers and smart people writing code, is still speculation and making such false claims creates a Chicken Little environment where no one pays attention to these false prophets who are crying that the sky is falling. Therein lies the rub that perhaps a true science breakthrough will be ignored because so many scientists are shills for a viewpoint, or feathering their own nest with grant money. It is estimated by a former editor that over half the papers she reviewed for publication were misleading or outright fraud. Sad commentary.
Finally, the bias of science and, in particular, anthropologists/archeologists who seem to tailor fit their conclusions to the latest science or public fad. In the wars, the end of the Neanderthals were attributed to war between them and Homo Sapiens and the notion was that they were so distant as to be unable to breed with modern humans. But we find DNA has proven most people outside Africa have some minimal amount of Neanderthal genetic material. The apocalyptic view was common when the nuclear age was upon us. Once continental drift came into vogue, then changes in species was attributed to that. Now that the popular notion (wrong that is likely is) of global warming, then all the theories of migration and population change is now attributed or blamed upon humans reacting to climate. And all extinct species of the last part of the Ice Ages is attributed to mankind exterminating them. Finally, as the large meteorite blast in Russia seems to have triggered, the popular conclusion is that species extinction events are due to large meteorite strikes, or mega-volcanic eruptions. I presume a new villain will be discovered in time.