“But Science”

Grandiose theories about what science is or how it should be does not mean much on a Climateball field. There are things we know well enough not to worry too much about them. Science is like that. Once we consider it as a disciplined extension of common sense, all should be well.


The irony of those saying “believe science” or “believe scientists”


Scientific knowledge, then, is always in a state of flux; there is simply no such thing as “settled science”, peer reviewed or otherwise.


Objections and Replies

All Theory. AGW is all theory and no data, and there is no middle ground
☞ On the contrary: a theory without data is blind, and data without a theory are void. We need both data and theory to do science.

Beliefs. Science isn’t about beliefs
☞ Your model of science had currency in Parminedes’ time. Even by Plato’s time knowledge was modeled as true, justified belief.

Better. We need better science
☞ That requires more money. Should we increase your taxes? If you can get a grant, save a bit for contrarians: we need better ones {1}.

Falsification. Speculation is not counted as hypothesis unless falsifiable
☞ Here’s a guide to falsify AGW. If we accept falsifiability as a criteria for scientific theories, proofs don’t exist anymore.

INTEGRITY. In science you need to show how you’re maybe wrong
☞ Your guru is being a tad moralistic here. Which means *you* should take heed of it, not use that as a club to beat otters.

Ignorance. Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts
☞ Why not go full Socrates? Your guru is playing fast and loose. Science is not “the belief” in anything. At best it is a web of beliefs. That science is fallible does not imply that experts are unreliable. On the contrary, in fact.

Method. According to the scientific method
☞ There’s nothing special about how we do science. It’s a mere extension of common sense.

Proof. Prove that
☞ Confer to the IPCC reports. Empirical sciences have no means to ultimate settlement like a formal proof. We still have fairly well established results.

Replication. The first requirement of science: replication
☞ You’d be surprised. Unless you are wishing for an earth holodeck?

First Principles. Real science needs to start from first principles
☞ The dream of founding empirical sciences on an axiomatic method has died a long time ago. Channeling your High Expectation Father only reveals you have not really studied these matters {2}.

Settled. Science is never settled
☞ “Science is settled” only means that the basic ideas are well understood. It certainly does not mean that climate science is definitive {3}.

Skepticism. Remaining skeptical in the spirit of science
☞ Incredulity has little scientific explanation or understanding to offer.

Theory. When theory and data clash, it’s the theory that
☞ Only if you have adamant data (which is seldom the case) and an invincible model (which never is).

Tautology. Saying that AGW makes it too hot or too cold is never wrong
All you got to show is that AGW would stabilize weather.

Who. The only thing that matters to Science is who is correct
☞ Only those who view Science like a boxing match makes that mistake. The only thing that matters in Science are arguments supported by evidence. Nobody ought to care about your gurus.

Uncertainty. There is uncertainty in science—
Indeed, and uncertainty adds risk. Which means it is no contrarian’s friend.


{1} Better contrarians. We need better contrarians. Ideally they should be coaxed into offering some kind of scientific output. If every contrarian compiled 90K of historical data from all over the world, they’d earn the right to their eccentric views.

{2} Structuralism. One could argue that parts of them could be axiomatized, for instance measurement theory. Scientific structuralism was all the rave in the 70’s, however there are still conceptual problems lingering.

{3} Exploit. Your search engine should give you pages of contrarians whining about “but settled” without any real source to the claim. I have yet to find a clear, stable source. So the first move should be to ask contrarians to source their claim.


2010-01; A quick ‘n dirty guide to falsifying AGW.

2009-12; The Duck; A tale of two scientists.

2009; Probability and Statistics – The Science of Uncertainty

2006-05; Piracy as a Preventor of Tropical Cyclones.

Futher Readings

2018-05; Climate Science.

2017-04; Science and Pseudo-Science.

2015-11; Scientific Method.

2020-10; The Idea That a Scientific Theory Can Be ‘Falsified’ Is a Myth; Food for thought.