Francis wrote a great post this morning: Scientism, the One True Faith. Consider it required reading. For a long time, I have maintained that science, as popular culture understands the term, is no longer tied the scientific method. It has become a euphemism for all knowledge, and so has lost the specificity that made the term useful. Francis explains for us:
Thus also with science:
It isn’t a bunch of people with doctorates who spend several hours a day wearing white lab coats.
It isn’t a laboratory filled with glassware, chemicals, electronics, and experimental subjects;
And it most certainly isn’t “settled,” no matter what subject or persons declaim on it.
Science is a methodology for the investigation of reproducible phenomena. Science is the scientific method,more or less as Francis Bacon originally prescribed it.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to deceive you for purposes of his own. He is dangerous to you and others. He means to take something from you, most likely your money and freedom. When confronted by such a person, put one hand on your wallet, the other over your genitals, and back slowly away.
Social Justice Progressivism has this way of co-opting the skin of a thing, the appearance of a thing, without capturing the thing’s essence. I remember some time ago reading a syllabus for a mathematical course, wherein the teacher described the course as eliminating inequalities, promoting diversity, and interpreting the language of math for all races, cultures, and religions.
Just as now you will find gaming journalists who suggest that the first priority of gaming is to be properly diverse, to fight white privilege, and promote social justice.
When it comes to the notion of man-made climate change, there is now a new term which has recently become vogue: Climate Justice. Yes, it isn’t even Climate Science anymore. It’s Climate Justice. As if that has anything to do with whether or not mankind is having observably detrimental impacts on the climate.
Their science looks like science, acts like science, and quacks like science… yet it is not science.
As Francis explains, they will show you pictures of people with white lab coats, beakers filled with strange substances, and a myriad of various degrees and diplomas hung on the wall. And then they will claim that a consensus of experts have agreed on a conclusion, and you would be foolish to question them.
All of this ignores that climate “science” is not science at all. Where is the reproducible experimentation and observation? Do you possess a control Earth without humans that you may benchmark against? Do you know what the Earth would be like without humans, with a lesser number of less advanced humans, and with the number of humans we have now?
Then how can you be doing this scientifically?
Allow me to provide an interesting example. Warmists have frequently warned us that global warming will lead to more powerful hurricanes. It’s part of the usual doom-and-gloom fear mongering. They point to some of the unusually active hurricane seasons, such as in the mid-2000s.
But hurricanes are caused by a confluence of things. For one, the interaction of the Sahara desert, the jungles of Africa, and the Atlantic ocean produce tropical waves. Many hurricanes form out of these tropical waves. The reason for the desertification of the Sahara is an open question. Theories range from overgrazing to a slight perturbation in the Earth’s orbit.
The warmists would have you believe that warmer temperatures equal more hurricanes, but they’ve no way to prove this scientifically, because they cannot isolate this one effect from all the other effects. What if, for example, warming reduced the number of tropical waves that often generate hurricanes? What if it had other effects in the atmosphere that reduced the efficiency of a hurricane’s heat engine?
What they have is a hypothesis (and possibly a reasonable one) that they cannot test. It’s not science. Then they sell this hypothesis as proven fact, and call anyone who remains skeptical a denier, the modern euphemism for a heretic.
None of this is to say that they are right, or that they are wrong. I don’t know, and I don’t have access to the sort of time and data to comment on it in great detail. Rather, what I’m saying is that they are observably lying as to the kind of research they are doing. And I don’t trust a liar.
Many people say “trust the experts” without questioning either the competency or the trustworthiness of the expert. I trust an airline pilot to fly the plane, because I can see for myself that the airline record is pretty good, and that these people are good at their jobs. But what if a healthy 50% of airline pilots flew you to the wrong place? What if, furthermore, some pilots flew you to the wrong places deliberately? You bought a ticket to Vegas, but you ended up in Alaska. And the whole time, the pilot kept telling you how great the weather was in Vegas over the loud speaker. How much would you trust the pilot the next time you got in a plane, and he said “we’re heading for San Diego?”
Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t? How the Hell should I know?
The sleight of hand is not always obvious to the casual observer, however. Certainly not as obvious as mistaking Vegas for Alaska. Francis explains again:
Believer: Climate scientists are correct because the scientific method is reliable over time, thanks to peer review. The experts are overwhelmingly on the same side.
Skeptic: The prediction models are not credible because prediction models with that much complexity are rarely correct.
Believer: You troglodyte! You know nothing of science! The scientific method is credible!
See what happened? The believer was discussing science and the skeptic was NOT discussing science. These are different conversations. The prediction models are designed by scientists, but they are not “science” per se, any more than a microscope is “science.” Both are just tools that scientists use.
Prediction models may or may not work. Living in Florida, I’ve developed a healthy amount of respect for the NHC folks. Yeah, the accuracy of their predictions leaves much to be desired, but they nonetheless do an impressive job, and if they are often wrong in the specifics, in the generalities they are usually correct. Their prediction models are observably “pretty good” given the circumstances.
But even in such closed systems, they require several prediction models, which they often average together or weight differently depending on the forecaster’s experience. This is a skill more than anything. And then the forecaster adds his own spin on the data, looking at historical storm tracks, and making some subjective decisions about what all of it may mean. This isn’t science. But it is an impressive skill, nonetheless.
Yet all this is barely sufficient to predict where a storm might generally be in a few days, perhaps a week at the most, and have some reasonable expectation of how strong it will be.
Fortunately, we can check their work with hindsight. We can see how good their track record has been, and judge whether or not to trust them based on that record. With the warmists, we’ve no ability to track their assertions, because anything that goes counter to their hypothesis will be judged “noise” in the data, and anything that follows their hypothesis will be judged positive evidence.
Add to that the nature of government funding and peer pressure (skeptics are often greatly derided by their peers), and you have a recipe for manufactured consensus, with no way for the casual observer to check the results. Then, on top of that, we catch some of them in blatant lies, after which they demand that we trust them! Then they have the temerity to lecture those of faith on their “stupid sky wizard” god.
These people have a religion of their own. I see it often enough on Fecalbook, where the “I fucking love science” crowd posts all sorts of things that are not science, and acts like they are extra nerdy and super smart because of it.
I don’t know when popular culture switched on us, when everything that was once nerdy was made popular, but I suspect we are all the poorer for it. For it made loads of really dumb people think that they were smart because they shared a post about “science” and believed in global warming.
As far as cargo cult religions go, it may be one of the dumbest masquerading as one of the smartest.