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Global warming is not science

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The controversy over global warming is the result of statistical analysis, which is not, strictly defined, a science. If you believe there is such a thing as social science, then by that loose definition of science statistical analysis is one.
A more precise expression, "exact science," should be recognized. Neither statistical analysis nor any social science is an exact science.
What is science?
Often in debates between "scientists" and any other group you will find science defined as being able to produce the same results in repeated experiments.
It is true that science in strictly controlled laboratory conditions is able to eliminate other variables in order to accurately and consistently measure the effect of one.
Science can show that the intensity of heat is what causes water at standard pressure to boil. Quite many people had already surmised as much long before there was science, but science is able to "prove" it.
The way science "proves" it is by eliminating all the other things that might cause boiling. Consistent results can lead to the formulation of a "law" in science. Although there is no general law of boiling points in science there are gas laws that describe the relationship among the temperature, pressure and volume of gases. Water is not a gas, but it can be made to boil into one by lowering the pressure. Not so many people had guessed that.
The key to each gas law is that one of the variables was eliminated. Charles' Law is found by eliminating pressure. Boyle's Law is found by eliminating temperature.
Why use statistics?
Statistical analysis is used where it is not possible to eliminate other variables.
Notice that people were able to guess the relationship of heat intensity to water boiling before the pressure factor was eliminated. Sometimes other factors are not much present and don't need to be eliminated.
Too many people today depend too much on statistics though. They believe other factors have been eliminated when not.
Much of the controversy over global warming and health care is caused by the simple, childlike faith too many people have in the "science" of statistics.
Although statistical analysis can make highly accurate predictions in some cases, they are highly artificial cases. For example if you have a thousand red ping pong balls and six thousand blue ping pong balls you can learn the ratio of red to blue without counting all seven thousand. The accuracy of your ratio depends on the mix being "random" and that can be obtained through artificial means, though quite easily with ping pong balls. Nature without human intervention turns out to be less "random" and more a confusing tangle of variables though.
A pernicious false assumption is that other variables can be eliminated by taking very large quantities of data. There is an assumption that the other variables must "balance out" because of some "random" agency. They don't, there is no such agency.
In his State of the Union Address last night Barack Obama said that "global warming is a fact." It might be as much a fact as that you can keep your health insurance if you like it, but that also appears to be no exact science. The president can make political laws, but that doesn't mean scientific law follows.
Many people today would like the state to have the certitude of science, but wishing doesn't make it so, especially in a democracy where so many people have no idea what science is.
Gulf between climatology and astrophysics
Global warming is far from science. Data on solar output is so sparse as to make statisticians blush. Only with the recent proliferation of satellites has a sufficiently accurate and comprehensive survey of solar output been possible, and the possibility has yet to be exploited. That consistency above the atmosphere will be higher than below it seems intuitive enough, but the announcement should wait for actual tests. Meanwhile there is an embarrassing gulf between climatology and astrophysics.
The earthly material plane is not heaven. Science is no god despite how many believe in it. The death toll in various natural disasters remains the news. Those, dear president, are the facts.



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