Antiscience? Not.

Scientific Badger

Scientific Badger

WtD currently (as of 10 AM today) has an article on anti-science and some psychobabble about “stages of denial”. Again, it’s based on the 97% of scientists with the appropriate degree who publish in the proper peer-reviewed journals agreeing AGW is real. As I have noted, the qualifications can be waived if scientists agree with AGW and write an article that will help the cause (as in Cook, Lewendoski and Marcott). This appears to be central to the entire theory—the “in” crowd agrees and so should you.

First, psychology and consensus have NOTHING to do with the truth or falsity of a scientific hypothesis/theory. Psychology and consensus are employed to “sell” something. For example—4 out of 5 dentists recommend “Brand X” toothpaste. Unless the dentists are doing this based on scientific evidence that brand X is best (and can produce the research to prove it), it’s nothing more than a toothpaste popularity contest.

There used to be commercials stating more hospitals used Tylenol than any other pain reliever. There was also a report that Tylenol was cutting the hospitals a great deal on the cost of the Tylenol. Today, Tylenol no longer advertises this way—it turned out the “safe” painkiller used by more hospitals was actually toxic in large doses. The medication was added to narcotic painkillers and combination medications, resulting in unintentional overdosing. It was not the “safe, trusted” painkiller that was endorsed by hospitals. Hospitals agreed—consensus existed. Tylenol was safe….but then it wasn’t.

Had someone actually questioned why there was agreement, perhaps the reality of the lack of safety in Tylenol would have come out sooner. Research and experience had always shown acetaminophen was toxic in large doses, due to liver damage. If there had been inquiries into the research and hospitals were asked to prove the safety and usefulness of the product, perhaps fewer overdoses would have occurred. The manufacturer of Tylenol later had commercials saying it was safe IF used as directed, a much more honest statement. At least safety was conditional.

Scientific truth is not determined by endorsement or consensus. It is determined by data, how well any models used predict and match reality, how much data exists versus how much is modeling (hint: the word “model” is prevalent in most AGW research.) A computer model is not a FACT. It’s not real. It’s at best an hypothesis, at worst, a fantasy. So not believing AGW is actually not putting faith in computer models and statistical probability. It is recognition of the limits of statistics and the use of modeling in trying to predict complex phenomena. It is the recognition of the validity of research based on its actual content and not who wrote. It is not a denial of science, scientific method or actual facts in evidence.

This may explain the shift from science in AGW to psychobabble and non-scientific terms like “extreme weather” (There was a study that tried to quantify this without a lot of success—I do give them credit for at least trying.)  If you can’t prove something with actual data, dazzle ’em with psychobabble and scare ’em with “extreme”.

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