Bit of a turnaround for the Guardian this. It looks like the ‘Making Science Public’ blog posts Warren Pearce has been running at Nottingham University’s website looking at Dana Nuccitelli’s ‘97% consensus paper have had the opposite effect to that which Dana hoped for. Along with many other well known critics, plus Prof. Mike Hulme, I assisted in giving the 97% consensus paper ‘a bit of a kicking’.
Click to visit Josh’s site – and buy a mug or something.
Are climate sceptics the real champions of the scientific method?
Warren Pearce 30-7-13
Since climate change came to prominence in 1988, the role of scientific knowledge – especially an idea of scientific consensus – has played a starring role in the ensuing academic enquiry/political debate/trench warfare (delete as preferred).
Beyond a depressingly binary characterisation of simply pro or anti-science, I’d argue sceptics cannot simply be written off as anti-science orconspiracy theorists
Many climate sceptics worry climate science cannot be dubbed scientific as it is not falsifiable (as in Popper’s demarcation criterion). They claim that while elements of climate science may be testable in the lab, the complexity of interactions and feedback loops, as well as the levels of uncertainty in climate models, are too high to be a useful basis for public policy. The relationship of observations to these models are also a worry for climate sceptics. In particular, the role of climate sensitivity.
As well as their use of models, the quality of observations themselves have been open to criticism; some of which have been attempts to clean up issues deriving from the messiness of data collection in the real world (eg the positioning of weather stations), while others have focused on perceived weaknesses in the proxy methods required to calculate historic temperature data such as cross-sections of polar ice sheets and fossilised tree rings