Political Climate
Dec 31, 2008
‘AGW’ Theory has Spectacularly Failed

By Dr. Frank Tipler, Mathematical Physicist Tulane University in William Katz’s Urgent Agenda

AGW is a scam, with no basis in science. A few comments on my own particular view of global warming:

(1) I am particularly annoyed by the claims that the “the debate is over,” because this was exactly the claim originally made against the Copernican theory of the Solar System.  Copernicus’ opponents said the idea that the Earth was the third planet from the Sun was advanced by Aristrachus in 300 B.C. (true), and had been definitely refuted by 100 A.D.  The debate is over!  Sorry, it wasn’t: the Earth IS the third planet.

(2) It is obvious that anthropogenic global warming is not science at all, because a scientific theory makes non-obvious predictions which are then compared with observations that the average person can check for himself.  As we both know from our own observations, AGW theory has spectacularly failed to do this.  The theory has predicted steadily increasing global temperatures, and this has been refuted by experience.  NOW the global warmers claim that the Earth will enter a cooling period. In other words, whether the ice caps melt, or expand --- whatever happens --- the AGW theorists claim it confirms their theory.  A perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology.

(3) In contrast, the alternative theory, that the increase and decrease of the Earth’s average temperature in the near term follows the sunspot number, agrees (roughly) with observation.  And the observations were predicted before they occurred.  This is good science.

(4) I emphasized in point (2) that the average person has to be able to check the observations.  I emphasize this because I no longer trust “scientists” to report observations correctly.  I think the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW.  We’ve seen many recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies.  In one case, Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record.  Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used September’s temperatures for Russia rather than October’s.  I’m not surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern hemisphere. 

(5) Another shocking thing about the AGW theory is that it is generating a loss of true scientific knowledge. The great astronomer William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, observed in the early 1800’s that warm weather was correlated with sunspot number.  Herschel noticed that warmer weather meant better crops, and thus fewer sunspots meant higher grain prices.  The AGW people are trying to do a disappearing act on these observations. Some are trying to deny the existence of the Maunder Minimum. 

(6) AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one’s scientific opponents.  The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative.  Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark.  Shortly after his book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the “consensus” view on AGW and other environmental questions.  Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would have been fired.  Stillman Drake, the world’s leading Galileo scholar, demonstrates in his book “Galileo: A Very Short Introduction” (Oxford University Press, 2001) that it was not theologians, but rather his fellow physicists (then called “natural philosophers"), who manipulated the Inquisition into trying and convicting Galileo.  The “out-of-the-mainsteam” Galileo had the gall to prove the consensus view, the Aristotlean theory, wrong by devising simple experiments that anyone could do.  Galileo’s fellow scientists first tried to refute him by argument from authority.  They failed.  Then these “scientists” tried calling Galileo names, but this made no impression on the average person, who could see with his own eyes that Galileo was right.  Finally, Galileo’s fellow “scientists” called in the Inquisition to silence him. 

I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition’s case against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama’s new science advisor. Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are “dangerous.” I think it is people like Holdren who are dangerous, because they are willing to use state power to silence their scientific opponents.

Science is an economic good like everything else, and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to control the means of production. Milton Friedman understood it, and advocated cutting off government funding for science. Read more of this most interesting post by the latest dissenter from the so-called consensus here.

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