There’s a legal concept known as “fruit of the poison tree”. Basically, it states that any evidence or conclusions derived from improper or illegal techniques are inadmissible in court.
In the world of science, “fruit of the poison tree” would be any research that did not follow the well-established methods of scientific proof. Methods which include maintaining the integrity of observed, raw data. The reproducibility of results. Open availability of data for independent review and confirmation. Accurate prediction of future data by any model or theory derived from that data. At a minimum any theoretical model should completely and accurately predict past data points and phenomena.
As a for instance, Freud’s theories are no longer considered scientific. Why? The major reason is that they are completely useless for predicting future human behavior. Despite the nearly complete consensus of psychiatrists a generation ago that Freudianism represented hard scientific reality, it doesn’t.
Today, no one would take you seriously as a scientist if you based your work upon Freud.
The theories of Karl Marx were once considered scientific. They no longer are. Why? Lack of predictability for one and the use of outdated and thus irrelevant data in the formation of his theories, poor modeling.
Margaret Mead, once a giant in the field of Anthropology, is now regarded as nothing more than a fraud. Why? She made up false data to buttress her fantasies of what human behavior should be. Incidentally, and perhaps tellingly, she ended her days practicing witchcraft.
The scary thing about the above three is that while we know their theories are nothing but nonsense. Their work is still used as pillars of leftist thought and policy.
Thus, we come to global warming and Copenhagen.
We know from the ongoing CRU email scandal that climate change “science” is likely nothing of the sort. What the exact upshot of all of this will be professionally, legally, and scientifically for the Jones/Mann axis and other climate scientists is hard to say at this point. However, I suspect that climate change as a force in science, perhaps politics, is dead. Or at least, certainly should be.
What surprises me is that it was ever taken seriously in the first place.
Last year, Michael Mann and co-author, Lee R Kump, released their magnum opus, Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming, in paperback.
This link will take you to the Amazon page where you can read for yourself some of the introductory pages for DP:UGW. Just look for the “Search inside this book” link under the picture of DP:UGW.
There’s a lot of unintended comedy in these pages of DP:UGW, the best being the flaccid prose,describing the effects of nature on climate, printed over the most peaceful photograph of an active volcano that you’ll ever see versus the hysterical hammering prose about man-made effects on climate over a picture that appears to come from the deepest bowels of hell itself.
However, the most interesting section is where Mann and Kump talk about the role of the climate scientist in governmental policy making.
Now here is where you’d expect Mann to put his best foot forward, so I assume he does. But notice, the effect is exactly like that of a magician explaining in concrete terms how he’s going to do his trick then expecting you to still be amazed.
In the section, Why are climate projections uncertain? Mann writes:
In climate science, uncertainty arises from a variety of sources, such as the inherently unpredictable nature of both the physical climate system and the human factors driving climate change,
Okay, this is astonishing. He’s telling you that the science is NOT settled. The climate is unpredictable. Any man-made factors are unpredictable. He’s saying directly that he is unable to predict the effects of both natural and man-made factors. That right there pretty much takes it out of the realm of established scientific fact. At best, he has a nice, little unproven theory.
However, note the unsupported assertion that human factors-not say, factors like solar output-but human factors are driving climate change.
the necessary simplifications that occur when computer models are created, and incomplete knowledge about critical parameters in these models.
Again, this is simply incredible. Here Mann is directly telling you that his computer models are at best uncertain. Why? His “models” don’t model the real world. They are over-simplified. But that’s not all. He says, again directly, that he doesn’t even know the critical parameters, ie. the factors that define a system and determine it’s behavior, of his own models. Thus, by extension, the critical parameters of climate change.
In determining the likelihood that a conclusion is correct, climate scientists often turn to statistics, but some factors cannot be quantified by data.
Oh, come on. His conclusions can’t be quantified by data? The real world doesn’t agree with your theory? Climate change’s whole pitch is direct cause and effect. Direct cause and effect. Either the data is there or it isn’t.
So, we’re out of the realm of science and into, I don’t know, some kind of aeromancy, I guess. But, never fear because…
In these cases, likelihoods can only be established based on expert judgment.
Yep. Aeromancy. Opinion based science. The whole reason the scientific method was established and codified was to get away from opinion based “science”.
Scientific conclusions arise from time-tested theories, accurate observations, realistic models based on the fundamentals of physics and chemistry,
Nothing to disagree with there. Except, he’s already told us that his observations are uncertain and unpredictable thus inaccurate and that his models are unrealistic.
and consensus among colleagues working in the discipline.
Bingo! And now we see, as per the CRU email scandal, why the peer review process for global warming had become one large, circular, daisy chain.
The history of science is littered with the corpses of erroneous consensus. Group-think is great for creating high school cliques. Hard science? Not so much.
This isn’t really hard, established science as it’s understood by any other scientific discipline. It appears that, even without the elements of the CRU scandal, and in his own words, that Mann has a nice little, but rather shaky theory buttressed by the opinions of his buddies and colleagues. Certainly, not something so well-defined and certain that we need to wreck our economy on his say so.
But hey, it’s not like you weren’t told up front. Give Mann credit for honesty.
Given the CRU problems, I suspect in the next few months we’ll see a general rejection of climate change “science” by other scientists who don’t want their professionalism tainted by what appears to be a huge scandal.
So, the question arises.
Why are governments, politicians, bureaucrats so willing to adopt policies, policies recommended by the IPCC, by Mann and pals, that will destroy our economy, on the basis of a rather shaky man-made global warming theory?
In other words, why bake tarts from this poisoned fruit?
Why eat them?
Mann gives his reason in the section titled “The Fourth Assessment Report“. That would be the fourth assessment report for the IPCC, which I suppose you could consider the political arm of global warming “science”.
Mann reason boils down to “high risk”. However, as you’ll see his definition of risk is a bit odd: (bolding and italics are mine)
…..As policymakers are well aware, the risk associated with any of these projections is the combination of the probability of occurrence and the severity of the damage if it were to occur. This means that we should not ignore the projections toward the bottom of the table. For example, although it is unlikely that the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets will collapse during the 21st century, if they were to collapse, the consequences would indeed be dire. Therefore, the risk of the ice sheets collapsing is actually quite high.
Maybe, they were actually quite high when they wrote that.
Did you get what Mann said? No matter how unlikely or improbable an occurrence is, it can be defined as high risk simply if it is terrible enough. Or, in equation form:
Improbable event + worst possible scenario you can possibly imagine resulting from improbable event = high risk
This is not high risk as it’s generally understood.
However, it is a concept of risk designed to appeal straight to the reptilian brain of power-hungry pols and bureaucrats.
Note that likely events, for instance, slightly warmer summers, aren’t highlighted. The emphasis is on preventing events that are highly improbable in the first place. So, governments tax their citizens billions to prevent something that is unlikely to occur. And when, imagine that, this improbable event doesn’t occur, it’s proof that the economy wrecking policy is working.
This is very much the statistical nothingness of “jobs created or saved” that the Obama administration likes so much to “prove” the effectiveness of Obama’s stimulus package.
To put it another way, imagine if insurance companies defined high risk in this manner:
Your Medical Insurance policy wouldn’t cover mundane events like heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
It would cover Brain-eating Space Slug Infection.
Because, meteors crash to Earth all the time and as we know, from science(!), some of those meteors hold organic molecules, so it’s possible though highly improbable that Brain-eating Space Slugs, a highly improbable but catastrophic creature, could hitch a ride to Earth and infect your brain, which would cause tremendous damage, therefore it’s the highest risk to your health.
At a national policy level, this would be the same as cutting the Defense budget to subsidize impractical “green” technology and a new bureaucracy to administrate “cap and trade”.
You’d pay money for protection from events that only have a probability, not a real possibility. In other words, protection from nothing that’s going to happen.
If your insurance company functioned this way, you’d be outraged. It’d be great for insurance industry profits, lousy for you.
In fact, it would be the perfect scam for an insurance company. I mean, you could….
….well, they could….
On second thought, I’d like to take back everything I’ve just said about risk and science and statistics and global warming and such to announce the formation of a new insurance company for the rest of us!
We at naturalfake are hereby proud to introduce the only insurance company using the high risk assessment methodology of respected climate change scientist Michael Mann.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:
Please click for details.
UPDATE: Welcome Rantburgians! Thanks for the link! Have a look around while you’re here. Lots of fun stuff to see.
UPDATE2: Thanks for the link from The Tizona Group! Backatcha’.
UPDATE3: First chop of the axe on the poison tree.
UPDATE5: Ace-alanche, baby! Score! Thanks, Ace.