Monday, August 09, 2004


"Two recent findings, one right next to Washington D.C., the other as far away as is possible to imagine, demonstrate the limits of what we can learn from scientific models. When researchers put together theories to predict what should happen, that's a model. When the model conflicts with reality, the model is flawed. Yet there are some scientists who don't accept that, which should give us pause to think about their claims.

We saw it in late July when the Washington Post reported that water samples from the major rivers pouring into the Chesapeake Bay showed no declines in the presence of two major pollutants since the mid-1980s. Yet the computer model that the Chesapeake Bay Program used to report progress in environmental cleanup estimated a 40-percent reduction in the pollutants. That model had been praised as the "Cadillac of watershed models" and "well-constructed and useful for prediction." The program has accepted the criticism and adjusted its model.

We also saw it in the recent discovery by astronomers of very old galaxies far out in space, in places where the current state-of-the-art models predict there should only be very young galaxies. The scientists have taken the news in their stride, admitting that much of what they thought happened in the early universe was wrong.

We see this sort of thing all the time in science. British scientists whose models at one time were predicting hundreds of thousands of human deaths as a result of "mad cow disease" now only predict another 40 or so. Even Stephen Hawking admitted this week that he was wrong on a theory about black holes he first formulated in the 1970s.

Scientists change their minds when data contradicts their models - except in one area, the relatively new scientific discipline known as climatology. If the climate models that predict massive rises in temperature over the next century are correct, the atmosphere should warm before the surface. But atmospheric data from both satellites and weather balloons show only a trifling rise in temperature over the past couple of decades, while the surface temperature has been rising steadily. In 2000, a National Research Council study confirmed the data's discrepancy with the model. The proper scientific response would be to reexamine the models and adjust them to fit reality. But that hasn't happened in climatology."

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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