In a post describing social media propaganda techniques Corey Doctorow says the following:
“We’re not living through a crisis about what is true, we’re living through a crisis about how we know whether something is true. We’re not disagreeing about facts, we’re disagreeing about epistemology. The “establishment” version of epistemology is, “We use evidence to arrive at the truth, vetted by independent verification (but trust us when we tell you that it’s all been independently verified by people who were properly skeptical and not the bosom buddies of the people they were supposed to be fact-checking).”
The “alternative facts” epistemological method goes like this: “The ‘independent’ experts who were supposed to be verifying the ‘evidence-based’ truth were actually in bed with the people they were supposed to be fact-checking. In the end, it’s all a matter of faith, then: you either have faith that ‘their’ experts are being truthful, or you have faith that we are. Ask your gut, what version feels more truthful?””
However unintentionally*, Doctorow has accurately described the ‘argument from authority,’ shut-down-the-debate propaganda of ‘climate change’ activists.
*He’s compared Greta Thunberg to Joan of Arc. I.e., he approves of Thunberg’s propaganda. She can hardly be considered an authority.
We can be sure he would not approve my appropriation of his words in support of the links that follow below. But they do speak to the question he asks about what feels truthful:
ClimateGate fallout continues: CRU admits original data deleted – 2009
“SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.”
“The dog ate my temperature data” would be far less suspicious if the scientists involved hadn’t been caught discussing how to avoid FOIA requests for their data; if they hadn’t asked each other to delete emails expressing internal doubts about some of their research assumptions; if the programmers hadn’t complained in their comments about unreliable data custodianship and sloppy organization, or pointed out algorithms where the actual data record was ‘corrected.’ It might be more believable if one of those scientists, Micheal Mann, hadn’t refused to release data and algorithms used in his hokey stick calculations, and if he hadn’t viciously attempted to destroy – professionally and personally – any who voiced the slightest question about that tree ring magnum opus, including interference and intimidation of scientific publishers. Science is falsifiable or it isn’t science.
“The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.”
GAST is Global Average Surface Temperature.
“Canadians already suspicious of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax are likely be even more suspicious given a report by Ottawa-based Blacklock’s Reporter that Environment Canada omitted a century’s worth of observed weather data in developing its computer models on the impacts of climate change.
The scrapping of all observed weather data from 1850 to 1949 was necessary, a spokesman for Environment Canada told Blacklock’s Reporter, after researchers concluded that historically, there weren’t enough weather stations to create a reliable data set for that 100-year period.
“The historical data is not observed historical data,” the spokesman said. “It is modelled historical data … 24 models from historical simulations spanning 1950 to 2005 were used.””
Maybe the models they used as input to the models were meticulously prepared even though the preparers had a conflict of interest. Maybe it would be better if when they don’t know something, they say so.
Here’s an easily understood critque of how data is manipulated in U.S. National Climate Assessment.
My Gift To Climate Alarmists ~13 min
No way to spin that: So-called scientists feel free to cherry pick their data. The choices strongly imply an agenda. An agenda related to funding.
Finally, here’s a long, insightful, humorous post (That last quality being one possessed neither by Greta Thunberg nor Joan of Arc, though one might suspect Greta does have a martyrdom complex.) touching on arguments from authority and proper skepticism at the website of the invaluable Dr. Judith Curry.
A philospher’s reflections on AGW denial An excerpt:
“…what, if anything, to do about AGW is a political decision, subject to the same forces at play in any other political decision, namely the interplay of conflicting interests. One can hope that someone else’s interests, as she herself sees them, will dovetail with one’s own. But to get in high moral dudgeon when hers don’t betrays the moral maturity of a three year old.”
Ah yes, it is a public policy question about which we’re told we must accept the judgment of some experts (though not experts in public policy) regarding a complete redefinition of our economy.
Ultimately, argument from authority must end in attempts to rank the sincerity, knowledge, methods, and success of predictions from theory of the authorities invoked by each side. The point I want to leave you with is that it’s not the climate change skeptics who are insisting global warming theory is not falsifiable. So, which authorities are practicing science rather than religion?