"Do you believe in global warming?"
The climate denial propoganda machine wants to make sure that climate change gets perceived as a concept rooted in belief. Why? Because it secures their narrative and keeps them from having to talk about the real science of our climate. If they can make sure you believe in anthropogenic climate change, they can manage to avoid the facts.
Believing in climate change, allows them to practice their favorite denial technique: throw out the baby with the bathwater. In the example below, they throw out the science with Al Gore.
In a purely logical system based on belief, any idea that is falsifiable is invalid. If I can can show an idea is wrong, it is entirely invalid. End of discussion.
Science approaches validity differently. This isn't to say that scrutiny according to a belief system is wrong or inadequate for all purposes. In fact, one can't do science without belief. But science requires particular and rigorous vetting, in addition to belief. For an idea to be scientifically testable, it must first be falsifiable.
Scientific ideas are always presumed falsifiable. The only theories that remain standing are ones that are vetted after the toughest scrutiny, and even the ones that describe the universe well are still considered falsifiable. Standing theories are thoroughly tested ideas that have yet to be disproved.
If one examines a scientific system according to criteria used for the belief system, the scientific system is by definition invalid. This method of applying incorrect standards for validity gets used again and again to dismuss scientific consensus -- about biology, cosmology, and about climate change. It is malicious, and it is deliberate.
Do you think I'm kidding? Watch this:
Krauthammer invokes climate change as a belief system. That way, he can easily falsify something about it, and declare the entire construction invalid. It's the baby out with the bathwater technique. In fact, though, he doesn't falsify anything about the science itself. He simply states that Al Gore believing in it is enough to make it wrong. It's falsifiability by proximity to Al Gore. He really does the Full Monty:
[Global warming is] a religion. In a religion, everything is explicable. In science, you can actually deny or falsify a proposition with evidence...Find me a single piece of evidence that Al Gore would admit would contradict global warming, and then I'll be surprised.
Krauthammer reverses the standards of validity for belief with the standards of validity for science. Denial ideas equal science, and climate science equals religion. Mostly, he makes the discussion about Al Gore. He doesn't address the question about warmer atmospheres holding more water, thereby causing heavier precipitation -- a phenomenon well establish in scientific fact. Instead, he falsifies the strawman belief system he created while ridiculing Mr. Gore, and then he throws out the entire religion of climate science with the bath water.
Forget that Al Gore beliefs do not affect climate science at all. If Mr. Gore can falsify any construction by believing in it, he is a powerful man indeed.
This misdirection is a corollary to Godwin's Law: As a disagreement about climate grows longer, the probability that a personal affront to Al Gore takes place approaches 1. Why? Because a conversation about Al Gore is not a discussion about science. But it does keep policy makers from creating clean energy solutions.
The scientific fact is that climate change is unequivocal. Our surface temperatures are increasing. The scientific fact is that we are injecting our atmosphere with industrial greenhouse gases. We've understood the greenhouse effect for more than 100 years, and there is no controversy about the physics involved.
There is no theory that accurately predicts the rapid surface temperature warming after 1970 that doesn't also include warming from anthropogenically produced greenhouse gases. When industrial activity is included in the models, however, they are consistent with a huge array of independently collected data. There is no competitive theory that explains the earth's suface temperatures as well.
What's more important, though, is that the climate denial machine has yet to produce a sound model that adequately explains the rapid surface warming in the absence of human activity. They have nothing to contribute. A new theory of climate change not only has to explain warming independently of industrial greenhouse gases, but it has to explain why the climate is responding to the atmosphere in a way that contradicts known physics.
Instead of producing a theory, they ask: "Do you believe in global warming?" Let's put the ball in their court. When we give them the burden of proof, their narrative is a paper tiger.
You can read about real climate science written by climate scientists at RealClimate.
Stop Tar Sands Blogathon Calendar: All Times Pacific
Sun. August 14th:
10 am: Join the Foes of the Tar Sands Pipeline: Blogathon & DC Civil Disobedience Action by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse. Starting Monday, this will be the "mothership" linked in the front page Feature Box all week, and I will try to update each day with diary links.
2 pm: Stop Tar Sands: Voices of the Opposition by blue jersey mom.
5 pm: Stop Tar Sands: While I’ll be Risking Arrest at the White House (and Why You Should, Too) by Lawrence MacDonald.
Monday August 15:
2 pm: Stop Tar Sands: Stand with Randy by janefleming.
Tuesday August 16:
11 am: Stop Tar Sands: Fingers of One Hand, Uniting as a Mighty Fist by JeffM2001.
4 pm: Stop Tar Sands Save Songbirds by FishOutofWater.
5 pm: Stop the Tar Sands: Stand Tall Generation Y by agmaynard.
Wednesday August 17:
10 am: Tar Sands Action by Senator Bernie Sanders.
noon: Stop Tar Sands: We Don't Need the Keystone XL Pipeline by Ann Mesnikoff.
3 pm: rb137
5 pm: JasonBox
Thursday August 18:
11 am: citisven
noon: David Daniel
1 pm: Elizabeth Shope
2 pm: Ben Gotschall
3 pm: Davey Rogner
5 pm: boatsie
7 pm: Seneca Doane
Friday August 19:
11 am: beach babe in fl
2 pm: Aji
4 pm: Renewable Rider
5 pm: Bill McKibben
What can you do?
In addition to participating in our blogathon as blogger, reader, or commenter, you can sign up to join Bill McKibben in civil disobedience August 20-September 3 in front of the White House.
We know what the future will look like with the XL pipeline.