In a recent essay appearing in 'Port of Call'
(Intertel Region VII's NL) Jeffry R. Fisher devoted considerable space to ideas for enhancing our nation's economic growth and efficiency. For example, in one segment he proposed moving the current capital (in Washington, D.C.) to "a more central location
" - say "on the border between Nebraska and Colorado
." This is his alternative "better solution
", instead of giving the citizens of the District of Columbia two Senators and a House rep. Besides, the new central location would then have: "adequate highways, more interstate access, airport, commuter and distant rail locations".
Yeah, right, Fisher's going to go for a more central geography at the expense of the very identity of the nation's capital. Or....maybe down the line he will also propose moving the capital's historic landmarks, including Capitol Bldg., Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial etc. to the Nebraska - Colorado border? Methinks just giving D.C. representation would be a far easier
- and much more practical - solution!
Having read this nonsense one can imagine what his solution for better policy on global warming would be. According to Fisher: "We need to rethink the way we research 'Global Warming' (climate change)". WHY?
The way we research it currently (thousands of peer-reviewed papers in professional journals) is just fine and has brought us to a much better grasp of how the climate is changing. This is from Prof. Gunter Weller's work on the rapidly thawing Arctic, to the enhanced role of methane as the permafrost melts, to the acidification of the oceans - and the increasing moisture content of the atmosphere. (See my previous post).
But this isn't good enough for Fisher because well, "there are so many political axes to grind, there's no way a collegial system of peer review can function correctly
Says WHO? In fact, the existing system of peer review functions just fine for dozens of professional journals and thousands of climate scientists - real ones, not paid hacks or frauds. These journals still dictate the highest professional standards and adherence to empirical data and consistent models, as opposed to wishful thinking and pseudo-scientific, quasi-political bull crap.
To Fisher and his suspicious cohort in the "HI-Q" societies - who fancy themselves critical thinkers and debunkers - peer review is all about giving global warming proponents a leg up over their contrarian colleagues. Of course this is total rubbish, and in fact shows a serious lack
of critical thinking. Scientists - from fields as diverse as anthropology to astronomy - like professionals in other fields (e.g. finance, economics, history etc.), actually compete for scarce resources
. They are not about to help a competitor - say with a competing model or theory - be published merely because they propose global warming models. Thus, if anything, peer review is likely to be even more brutal than for deniers.
What Fisher is really
saying here is:
"There are so many political and economical axes to grind by my skeptic side that we can't get our stuff published in the current system!"
I concede Fisher has good reason to think or believe this given virtually no
denier papers are published in peer-reviewed professional climate science journals. They are generally dismissed precisely because they lack
the basics of scientific authority
- including: proper data selection, bias-free analysis, consistent interpretation of data, and appropriate mathematical techniques. Hence, their papers are tagged as the opposite of authoritative science.
Fisher's objection is really that the peer review process poses too formidable an impediment for denier ("skeptic") codswallop. He instead wants any old trash to see publication to further bamboozle the masses who may never have taken a thermal physics course. By contrast, those without any ulterior political or economic agenda are willing to subject their research to rigorous peer review. They don't cry and whine about "bias" or "propaganda" when a paper is rejected. They act like adults are supposed to and carefully go through the referee's criticisms and seek to correct the errors.
So what does this genius want to do instead? Well, he wants to ditch the peer review process entirely. What does he want to replace it with? Well, he wants to have basically two teams go at it in an "adversarial system" - say like two teams of lawyers would in court.
The dope doesn't even grasp that such a stupid system is not based on scientific data or its merits at all, but subjective arguments
. Still he claims the opposite, as when he writes:
"Each side has a no-pretense partisan advocate backed up by staff doing research. All sides meet periodically in a battle royal - preceded by a discovery phase in which each side published its claims, its methods, its data, its methods, its models' source code etc. All sides cross examine each other's witnesses."
Can others also see why this is fulsome twaddle, and science - properly done- cannot be carried out like in a court room? Why not? Well, because we base physical science (of which climate science is a sub-discipline) on existing well- accepted principles that best describe the objective phenomena
under investigation, as well as models that comport with those phenomena. We also adopt the models and analytical methods that best reflect the principles. This is not a matter for courtroom grandstanding, debate - even in "a battle royal." There can be no "battle royal" if all parties agree on what the objective phenomena are and how they are measured from the outset. The problem is that the denier brigade doesn't agree
because they know that to do so undermines their true premise: that it is the capitalist economy which trumps all.
What Fisher is really proposing is a kind of academic cage match as when he writes:
"At the end the battered sides retreat to their respective labs to lick their wounds, improve their models and methods and prep for the next meeting."
To what end? Just to go round and round with deniers and real scientists (weighted the same by Fisher's false equivalence) going back and forth with no ultimate resolution? Fisher likely can't even see this is the very essence of the
agnotology that the denier side has been invoking since day one. To refresh people's memories - agnotology,- derived from the Greek 'agnosis', is a PR category to promote culturally constructed ignorance. It is achieved primarily by sowing the teeniest nugget of doubt in whatever claim is made.
It shouldn't take a near genius I.Q. to see the ideal way to achieve this is to set up a fictitious, straw man ("skeptic") side to oppose the genuinely scientific side - and have them go head to head in endless debates. After all, there's just so much "uncertainty"! How can you not go to the fabled adversarial model? Let each side try the other's case and the one that does the best prosecution wins. (Interestingly there is no 'judge' to adjudicate the "battle royal".) What could be wrong?
Well, everything, because that's not how science works! Science progresses by incremental steps, which we call successive approximations. Basically then, each new datum is integrated into the existing model(s) to enhance them in order to predict new data - which are then compared to what we actually observe. This has led us to the present understanding of our warming planet and that includes insights such as: the current CO2 concentration is 403 ppm, every increase in CO2 concentration by 2 ppm increases the radiative heating effect by 2 W/ m2, and, the planet's heat balance currently being out of kilter by 0.6 W/ m2.
Opposed to this is Fisher's prescription for adversarial agnosis but now in the guise of court room proceedings with each side engaged with the other in a series of "battle royals". No, you can't make this stuff up. (But neither could one make up the notion of moving the nation's capital to the Nebraska-Colorado border!)
Fisher's arguments in defense of this "adversarial" system are even loopier, e.g.
"If my strategy is sound then each cycle of research and confrontation will force the sides to converge on something approaching "truth". In addition, all of us on the sidelines can gain confidence that what we eventually get is in fact the truth and not somebody's dogmatic propaganda
But clearly the two sides can never ever "converge in something approaching truth
" because genuine science can make no compromises with pseudo-science. We don't see Darwinian biologists allowing for theologic creation in certain species, any more than astronomers allow some planets - like Earth - to be flat and others spherical. It is total bollocks, so Fisher is wallowing in self-delusion.
He then claims it's important we (e.g. in the US of A) do this because "the rest of the world is committed to climate alarm propaganda". In other words they embrace at least some lowering of carbon emissions, as prescribed by the Paris Climate Treaty.
Which is total nonsense.
Of course, Fisher's adversarial strategy has already
been shown not to work given his skeptic, actually pseudo -skeptic side- have been consistent losers. It is, after all, HIS side that has failed to get their papers published in respected journals because they have not met even minimal standards as I have described earlier. For example, Willie Soon's bunkum, e.g.
Ignoring clowns like Willie Soon, there are few others with whom Fisher can stack his pseudo-skeptic side, so why even waste the time? The matter for all intents has been settled whether Fisher and his clique of HI Q deniers like it or not As noted by P. T. Doran and M. Kendall-Zimmerman(Eos Transactions, Vol. 90, No. 3, ,p. 24) :
“The debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely non-existent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.”
The problem, as we know, is that those like Fisher have no clue concerning the underlying physical principles - even basic thermal physics. Hell, I defy Fisher or any one of his "climate alarm" conspiracy compadres to get even 50 % in this basic thermal physics test:
To be sure, this denier lot hurl up science smokescreens because they are averse to embracing real climate science. This is because they are all about ideology! We now know, thanks to the research of Yale prof Dan Kahan, that "strategies" like the one espoused by Fisher are determined by deep-seated political values and cultural identities. Thus, a white libertarian member of Intertel, for example, will see REAL global warming science (as validated by peer review
) as a dire threat against his precious conservative economic values and capitalist system.
This threat is then attributed to "global warming alarmism
" which is tied to "dogmatic propaganda
". Fisher proves my point that he'd never accept the real climate side anyway when he babbles at the end:
"So eliminate all funding for any and all orthodox view climate scare mongering and give all that money to iconoclasts and skeptics
In other words, give it to the fraud side. Note before this he even acknowledges the need to stack his mock climate court, i.e. "even if the truth is close to the orthodox view
" etc. Yeah, even if the truth is close we will "eliminate any funding for the orthodox view". (By which he really means the consensus view
- since these climate change dolts....errrr....deniers,
are unable to accept there can be such agreement on real climate science and real climate change. Why not? Because they don't know anything!)
In fact, according to Dan Kahan's theory, these high IQ skeptics don't really have the time (or inclination) to evaluate the global warming evidence that comes before them (say ice cores containing CO2) so they basically punt. Instead of rationally and objectively evaluating the existing evidence they imbibe specious and spurious refuse -generated by fakes like Willie Soon. They use their arguments to try to trash the climate science consensus - which they mislabel the "orthodox view" - that human induced warming is real, e.g.
At a deeper level, the pseudo skeptics like Fisher understand that stopping actual climate science is the highest priority for their warped economic system to prevail. Otherwise, it must be discarded for a system with emphasis on collective action and welfare. Nowhere has this been better articulated than by Naomi Klein in her recent book, 'NO Is Not Enough - Resisting Trump's Shock Politics'. She writes (p. 81):
"Climate change, especially at this late date, can only be dealt with by collective action that sharply curtails the behavior of corporations such as ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs. It demands investments in the public sphere - in new energy grids, public transit, light rail, and more energy efficiency....and that can only happen by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
In short, climate change detonates the ideological scaffolding on which contemporary conservatism rests."
I believe Fisher and his misguided ilk are smart enough to grasp that Naomi Klein has distilled their position to a tee. It is not about science so all this balderdash about pairing adversaries against each other - with opposing "data, methods, models, code" etc. - is total bullshit. It's bullshit because there is only ONE set of data, of models, etc. that matters. The other side's is as phony as a 3 dollar bill, and I suspect Fisher already knows that.
In effect, Fisher's lot grasps that the issue really is about "detonating the ideological scaffolding" of modern day economic conservatism to which they are committed and they can't have it. They can't tolerate it. Fair enough, then at least be honest! Drop the pseudo-scientific baloney and admit once and for all that this is about protecting the capitalist economic system. Then, instead of wasting their time and ours by creating fabulist versions of climate science, talk straight about the real concerns, and how we might work together to ameliorate them.
But don't hold your breath.