NZCLIMATE TRUTH NEWSLETTER NO 324X
by IPCC Expert Reviewer
Dr Vincent Gray
Dr Vincent Gray
JANUARY 21st 2014
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
Science is supposed to take place by the use of the “Scientific Method” defined in the following way.
THE FREE DICTIONARY
“The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis”
OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY
"a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."
For most of us the scientific method is what is described in official scientific publications.
Yet PB Medawar in his “Is the Scientific Paper a Fraud?
“The scientific paper in its orthodox form does embody a totally mistaken conception, even a travesty, of the nature of scientific thought.
The conception underlying this style of scientific writing is that scientific discovery is an inductive process. What induction implies in its cruder form is roughly speaking this: scientific discovery, or the formulation of scientific theory, starts with the unvarnished and unembroidered evidence of the senses. It starts with simple observation - simple, unbiased, unprejudiced, naive, or innocent observation - and out of this sensory evidence, embodied in the form of simple propositions or declaration of fact, generalizations will grow up and take shape, almost as if some process of crystallization or condensation were taking place.
The theory underlying the inductive method cannot be sustained. Let me give three good reasons why not. In the first place, the starting point of induction, naive observation, innocent observation, is a mere philosophic fiction. There is no such thing as unprejudiced observation. Every act of observation we make is biased. What we see or otherwise sense is a function of what we have seen or sensed in the past”.
The procedure described by logicians as “inductive reasoning” may be shown diagrammatically as follows
In this procedure “observation” comes first. The hypothesis and then the theory arise from the observations. The validity of the theory depends on the efforts placed in its modification from future observations.
David Hume and particularly Karl Popper have asserted that this procedure is invalid.
Popper says ( http://dieoff.org/page126.htm)
“By an inductive inference is here meant an inference from repeatedly observed instances to some as yet unobserved instances ,I hold with Hume that there simply is no such logical entity as an inductive inference; or, that all so-called inductive inferences are logically invalid. I agree with Hume's opinion that induction is invalid and in no sense justified”.
So inductive reasoning is wrong. What is the alternative? An alternative logical procedure is deductive reasoning
Here the study begins with a proposed theory and the investigation consists of an attempt to find observations and make experiments which might confirm the theory.
Medawar is equally scathing about this system.
“deduction in itself is quite powerless as a method of scientific discovery - and for this simple reason: that the process of deduction as such only uncovers, brings out into the open, makes explicit, information that is already present in the axioms or premises from which the process of deduction started. The process of deduction reveals nothing to us except what the infirmity of our own minds had so far concealed from us”
So what should we do?
The alternative interpretation of the nature of the scientific process, of the nature of scientific method, is sometimes called the hypothetico-deductive interpretation and this is the view which Professor Karl Popper in the Logic of Scientific Discovery has persuaded us is the correct one.”
Popper says http://dieoff.org/page126.htm)”
“What we do use is a method of trial and the examination of error; however misleadingly this method may look like induction, its logical structure, if we examine it closely, totally differs from that of induction.
I assert that scientific knowledge is essentially conjectural or hypothetical.
There can be no ultimate statements in science: there can be no statements in science which can not be tested, and therefore none which cannot in principle be refuted, by falsifying some of the conclusions which can be deduced from them.
In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality”
“Science as Falsification” http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.html
“The criterion of falsifiability is a solution to this problem of demarcation, for it says that statements or systems of statements, in order to be ranked as scientific, must be capable of conflicting with possible, or conceivable, observations."
The methods approved by Popper can be shown diagrammatically
These systems use a mixture of induction and deduction and they may include testing, prediction and, validation. One or other of these procedures give the best description of the scientific method as currently practised.
Applying these methods to study the climate run into several difficulties.
Scientific observations have to be repeatable and there has to be full information on the circumstances of the observation, the apparatus and the instruments used, and the name and qualifications of the observer.
These requirements cannot be met with the climate. No observation can be repeated and all the other details change over time. Although a very large number of observations have been accumulated, .the public and even scientists are prone to form premature conclusions about “trends” based on observations made in very different circumstances on different instruments by different observers.
This means that scientific conclusions based on observations alone are unreliable. They must therefore depend crucially on validation. Validation should include successful simulation of past observations, particularly the most recent and most reliable ones, but must also include successful forecasting of future observations over the entire range that the scientific theory may be used. This is the way to test for falsifiability.
With weather forecasting the crucial test is the forecast itself, and the extent to which the theory is continually modified to accommodate new information.
This procedure is a routine function of all meteorological services. Its success has made it amongst the most useful of all scientific services. Its limitations are a consequence of the current inherent difficulties of climate science.
CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE
Climate Change Science claims that any change in the climate is caused by human emissions of minor trace (“greenhouse”) gases in the atmosphere, notably carbon dioxide.
The theory is in complete contrast to the assumptions behind the climate models used by weather forecasters.
· the climate is unchanged without the effects of greenhouse gases
· The earth is flat
· The Sun shines day and night with the same intensity
· Energy exchanges are almost all by radiation
· Energy exchanges are “balanced”
· Energy exchanges are instantaneous
· No work is done on the system.
· “Natural” climate properties are not only merely “variable” but are also negligible.
- There is no reason in principle why such an unlikely theory could not be correct. Planck’s Quantum theory was an example of a theory which was implausible and completely at odds with existing theories of energy transfer, which Planck himself could hardly believe. It has succeeded because it has been comprehensively validated.
The question then is, can the climate change theory be validated?
- Climate Change models do not make forecasts but merely projections which depend on the plausibility of the model parameters and of the futures scenario details.
- These projections have never been validated by comparison with a full range of future observations They are merely evaluated in levels of likelihood and probability by scientists with a conflict of interest, subject to the approval of the Government representatives who control the IPCC.
At the beginning, most of the projections were so far into the future that confirmation was
- Over the years, however, some calculations of existing climate properties have been made and there have been limited future forecasts which can be used for limited testing.
Claims of the IPCC are heavily dependent on their opinion that they can successfully show
changes in mean global temperature.. Temperature is an intensive property, like mass or
velocity. It can only exist where it is uniform throughout any material . The globe does not
have a temperature. Also there is currently no method available to measure an average
temperature of its surface. Hansen at http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html
claims that even the measurement of a single value is “elusive”
The IPCC does not even claim to measure mean global temperature. They claim to measure “”temperature anomaly”, a deviation from some average. Yet the averages which are derived from weather station or ocean records are not representative or uniform. They are subject to positive bias from urban and land use changes, quite apart fro the supposed effects of emissions of greenhouse gases. The trend of less than one degree Celsius over 100 years is lea than a degree Celsius, . . .
concluded that it is impossible to measure temperature with an ordinary thermometer to much better accuracy than 1.0oC. Weather Forecasters never deal in decimals of a degree.
Pat Frank at
has made a thorough study based on the assumption of a genuine temperature record which supplies the following set of one standard deviation estimates.
This graph shows that the supposed “trend” is indistinguishable from zero.
Much more reliable temperature anomaly records have been made by weather balloons and satellites, using Microwave Sensing Units.
Model calculations do not agree with measured temperatures in the mid tropical troposphere.
The Climate Change Theory has been falsified and is therefore invalid.