Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Here is Matt Ridley’s Must Read Article on Climate Science


One of the standard defenses of evolution—the Epicurean idea that the world arose spontaneously—is that science is a self-correcting, feedback process and, as such, will always lead to the truth. This is such an ignorant claim it is difficult to know where to begin in rebutting it. First of all, at its best science is a process that takes as input a set of observations and produces as output some generalizations, sometimes called models or hypotheses or theories or laws, about how nature works. A scientist might observe the planetary motions in the sky and hypothesize that the planets travel in elliptical orbits about the Sun. Or a scientist might observe the movement of objects and theorize that the product of the mass and acceleration of an object equals the force applied to it. These are valuable theories that condense a vast amount of observations into simple and useful formulas that can predict future events. But for every one of these successes there are hundreds of failures. Sometimes these failures are rooted out only after decades or centuries of contentious debate with proponents who are convinced they’ve got it right. Indeed, there is no guarantee of a timely resolution of scientific failures. There is no guarantee of a resolution, period. Every engineering student knows that feedback loops do not guarantee accuracy—they don’t even guarantee stability.  Read more

Excellent article. My favorite part: "The problem is in the misrepresentations of the science, the control of the funding, the publication control and blackballing, the demonization, the false dichotomies, the political intrusions, the dangerous impact on public policy, and so forth. This is not science, it a hijacking of science for nonscientific purposes." There is a point when learning technology where you know enough "to be dangerous". My experience is, when you reach this point, you need to step back and search to see if there is a deeper layer, an understanding of the subject that you still don't have yet. I firmly believe that there are many talking about "climate change" and science in general, that don't understand that they are using the knowledge they have, dangerously. They need to step back, and ask themselves, "is there another layer to this?", before running their stupid mouths. alanbrad
Awesome article Dr. Hunter. Thank you. Mung
One of my favorite Acts of Science comes from a TV special that was done some years back on the leading whale scientist in the US. He spent a month or so every year on the beach in Patagonia watching the whales who were close offshore during breeding season. Again, the special was about HIM, no other whale-ologists need apply. At one point he stated his Scientific theory about the strange behavior of the whales. From time to time, a whale would raise its tail clear out of the water and hold it upright for some minutes. The brilliant whale-ologist had developed a Theory about this behavior: he believed that it was an alternate method of transportation. That is, the whales were "sailing". He believed that the whales used this sailing to aid them on long trips... NO ONE on the show expressed ANY hesitation with his brilliant idea. A year or so later, I saw another show about whales with a different whale-ologist who had actually brought along an inflatable BOAT and puttered around amongst the offshore whales, instead of standing on the beach and using binoculars. The second whale-ologist made 2 significant observations: 1. ALL of the whales that raised their tails were female. 2. The females were raising their tails to prevent males from mating with them. As far as I know, The Theory of Whale Sailing crawled off into a dark corner and died a quiet death. Scientists have as many dumb ideas as anyone else. mahuna

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