Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Science, Anti-Science & Education

But in the end, this is a victory for science. No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.

Micho Kaku, Has A Speeding Neutrino Really Overturned Einstein, WSJ, 26 Sep. 2011

The above quote of Michio Kaku came as part of his discussion of the CERN finding that neutrinos might travel faster than the speed of light, thus defying Einstein's theory of relativity and falsifying virtually the entire foundation of modern physics. As Mr. Kaku, himself a physicist, makes crystal clear, what separates science from religion is reproducability. Asking the world to take the finding of an experiment on faith - or peer review, for that matter - is not science. Experiments must be archived and all data and methodology made public as the first immutable step in the scientific method. Moreover, if the results are not capable of being falsified, then it falls outside the definition of science and enters into the theological realm of faith.

Why do I bring all of this up? I for one firmly believe in the scientific method. I believe that science, properly done through the scientific method, will tell me the "how" of our world, wherever it may lead. There is no tension between my respect for science and my faith in religion to tell me the "why." And yet, according to our modern Orwellian left, I am "anti-science."

What the left means by that charge is that I refuse to accept, on the basis of peer review alone, the many warmie assertions about anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The IPCC and the modern left have, when it comes to global warming, tried to substitute peer review as the gold standard for reliability as opposed to making their methodology and data fully available for testing by other scientists. They use computer models to forecast global warming, yet they don't release the programming code so that it can be analyzed and either validated or falsified. Jim Hansen - a fraud who should be behind bars - doesn't just massage our temperature record, he blatantly alters it behind closed doors. The warmies top all of this off with the claim that the science surrounding global warming is settled. It is the antithesis of actual science as posited by Micho Kaku. It truly is anti-science.

What rattled my cage on this issue today were two posts. The first is by Rand Simberg, discussing how the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has "announced that it's going to take on climate change denial" in k-12 education:

. . . [A]fter hearing an increasing number of anecdotes about K-12 teachers being challenged about how they taught climate science to their students, she says she began to see "parallels" between the two debates --namely, an ideological drive from pressure groups to "teach the controversy" where no scientific controversy exists. . . .

“There’s a climate of confusion in this country around climate science,” says McCaffrey, and NCSE’s goal will be to ensure that “teachers have the tools they need if they get pushback and feel intimidated.” Recent surveys, such as one done among K-12 teachers in September by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), suggest that attacks on climate education are far from rare. NSTA found that over half of the respondents reported having encountered global warming scepticism from parents, and 26% had encountered it from administrators. And a December survey from the National Earth Science Teachers’ Association found that 36% of its 555 K-12 teachers who currently teach climate science had been “influenced” to “teach the controversy.”

As a threshold matter, if only 36% of science teachers in the U.S. are teaching both sides of the AGW debate, than our science education is in deep, deep trouble. Parent's need to be checking their children's science curriculum and raising holy hell if their children are part of the 64% who are being indoctrinated by the warmies. Indeed, to go one further, any global warming curriculum that does not include at least a class on Henrick Svensmark's theory - that solar activity and its effect on cloud formation is the primary determinant of our warming and cooling - is not a balanced curriculum.

As to the NCSE, they embrace the position that the "science is settled" and that the mountain of contravening theories and evidence are to ignored. The fact that warming has stopped for the past fifteen years despite steadily increasing human contributions of CO2, the fact that the geologic record shows that there has been nothing unusual about the recent warming of our planet, the fact that all of the computer models predicting global warming have proven utterly worthless, the fact that much of the "science" upon which AGW rests has never been subject to the type of analysis, criticism and reproduction that define the scientific method - all of these are to be ignored? Where in hell do people like the NCSE come from? What they seek is indoctrination, not the teaching of science as a method of acquiring knowledge. It is the very definition of anti-science.

The second post that caught my eye was an article at entitled "The Crackpot Theory of Everything Reveals The Dark Side of Peer Review." It is about an article that passed peer review yet had obvious defects in methodology and findings. Peer review is, at the very best, nothing more than a tool by which scientific publications can be reasonably sure that an article has been reviewed and found plausible by other experts - not that the findings themselves are accurate or have been reproduced. Peer review is not, and never will be, a substitute for the scientific method. It is those who would have it so that are "anti-science."

At any rate, my suggestion is this. The next time a warmie puts a bull horn up to your ear and yells "anti-science," look him square in the eye, tell him global warming is anti-science, and proceed to repetitively kick him square in the crotch until he experiences an epiphany. It seems the only way we will ever get through to these little Orwellian nightmares.

1 comment:

The Filthy Engineer said...

"The next time a warmie puts a bull horn up to your ear and yells "anti-science," look him square in the eye, tell him global warming is anti-science, and proceed to repetitively kick him square in the crotch until he experiences an epiphany."