“This life is slow suicide, unless you read.”Herman Wouk

Friday, August 23, 2019

Part 3, Conlawprof and Climate Change



Professor CCC wrote:

Indeed, when observed phenomena contradict what a proposed model predicts, the standard practice is to say the model and/or its predictions have been falsified. Popper. [quoting Tillman]

Oh, piffle. “Not perfectly accurate” is not the same as “contradict.” The models for the first atomic bomb didn’t get the yield right—I forget whether they over predicted or under predicted—but the only model that was contradicted was Enrico Fermi’s, who predicted that the blast would ignite all the hydrogen in the Earth’s crust and thus blow us all to smithereens. That one was falsified. The others weren’t.

We would not govern our private affairs by models that we know don’t work [quoting Tillman]

Again, “don’t work” isn’t the same as “aren’t precisely accurate.” For years I governed my affairs with a watch that ran fast. I take my blood pressure with a monitor that is consistently high, but I know that and correct for it.

—it seems (to me at least) to govern our public affairs on such a basis is wrong. [quoting Tillman]

When in the summers of the early 1960 I helped track satellites for NASA we knew our models were incomplete, and the satellites were never precisely where they were predicted to be, but it was good enough for government work and we were confident they weren’t going to run into any of the manned launches.

We know (relativistic effects; the earth rotates fastest at the equator) that people in northern latitudes age faster than people farther south. But nobody ever bothers taking that into account.


Seth wrote:

I started my contribution to this thread with:

So does that mean that the climate-change-related laboratory/experimental models have worked—that they have accurately predicted (within reasonable bounds) future climate change—e.g., the path of mean surface temperature globally? [bold added]

I have consistently used such cautious language.

Still, Professor CCC responds with:

Oh, piffle. ‘Not perfectly accurate’ is not the same as ‘contradict.’

He even puts both “contradict” and “perfectly accurate” in quotation marks. I used the former language (“contradict”), but not the latter (“perfectly accurate”). Nor do I use any language like the latter language (“perfectly accurate”) when discussing prediction, confirmation, validation, or falsification.

Then Professor CCC tries to make an analogy between global-warming predictions and yield-predictions involving the Manhattan project. That analogy fails—miserably. The Manhattan project was new science conducted under war-time conditions of secrecy. Theories involving global warming are now old or, at least, established science—we are on IPCC5—“5” as in the fifth report. There is no public embargo on data or research or public discussion of ideas/methods/conclusions/etc—or, at least, there aren’t supposed to be any such limitations. Finally, yield predictions involved a closed man-made system with easily measurable inputs and reasonably easy to measure outputs. By contrast, purported global warming claims and purported claims involving its anthropogenic components involve a system not under human control, involving a far wider range of inputs [including some of which may be unknown] and outputs—which are more difficult to measure—much less to predict. Those making claims involving such a complex, open system have every good reason to be cautious—all the more so, those who would govern public policy on such science. All that might explain (or excuse) why the various global warming models have such poor predictive capacity—but that is simply a way of saying that their predictive capacity remains poor. As explained in an article in Popular Mechanics, which surveyed the 5 IPCC reports: “The 15 climate models the IPCC used for the AR5 projected widely divergent cumulative carbon-dioxide emissions from 2012 to 2100, ranging from 140 to 1910 gigatonnes.” <https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a9460/a-beginners-guide-to-the-ipcc-climate-change-reports-15991849/#ixzz2h0UMob4E> These models cannot all be correct.

As for current events, yesterday, it was reported that the British Columbia Supreme Court (I think that’s the trial court), dismissed Michael Mann’s defamation case against Professor Ball. Mann will owe Ball court costs (following the English rule which prevails in Canadian courts) unless the decision is reversed.

Happy days,

Seth

Seth Barrett Tillman, Part 3, Conlawprof and Climate Change, New Reform Club (Aug. 23, 2019, 7:05 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/08/part-3-conlawprof-and-climate-change.html>. 

Seth Barrett Tillman, Part 2, Conlawprof and Climate ChangeNew Reform Club (Aug. 22, 2019, 8:35 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/08/part-2-conlawprof-and-climate-change.html>. 


Here is part 1: Seth Barrett Tillman, Conlawprof and Climate ChangeNew Reform Club (Aug. 21, 2019, 12:44 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/08/conlawprof-and-climate-change.html>. 




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