The Evidence Is In

During the past several weeks, Korea has had an unusually long and severe rainy season, one of the worst I have experienced during my sixteen years in this country. Predictably, as with any weather event whatsoever, not to mention any mention of any weather event, the country is now awash in climate change doomsday prognostications. Say the word “rain” to anyone here today, no matter how lightheartedly and innocuously, and you are almost certain to get a serious and knowing shake of the head in response, along with a variation on this month’s universally distributed talking point: “They say the rainy seasons are going to get worse and worse from now on.”

In other words, this unusually long and severe rainy spell has been immediately co-opted, like any other noteworthy weather event in the world these days — into the continuous unofficial chatter of the global climate change industry, which chatter may be summed up in three heavily implied, and often directly stated, words: “This proves it.”

Ask how this year’s irrefutable proof that the manmade climate change hypothesis is true, and the crisis unstoppable, can be squared with the fact that the past few years’ rainy seasons here in Korea were relatively mild compared to previous years, and you will be met with awkward silence. Of course. For this indoctrinated mantra of “proof,” according to which it is illegitimate to comment on or complain about any aspect of the weather, ever, without acknowledging the politically-loaded hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change as the only possible or ultimate explanation, is not a matter of logic or evidence. It is a catechism, and therefore any challenge to it not merely unanswerable, but rather to be treated with the sort of embarrassed perplexity with which one would respond to a person who stood up in church during mass and said, “Does anyone here have any logical reason for believing that God created heaven and earth?”

The difference, however, between the climate change religion and my church analogy is this: Whereas many substantial men, over many centuries, have actually tried to supply rational arguments for the existence of a creative God, no one has yet done so with regard to anthropogenic climate change.

How can I say that, you ask, when so many accredited scientists are publishing articles, even as we speak, making all sorts of scientific-sounding claims, and providing all sorts of science-like evidence, about various causes and effects of manmade climate change? I can say it as long as the climate change bishops insist on proffering their explanation in the form of what Karl Popper would call an unfalsifiable theory, but which we may, more broadly, to expand it beyond the realm of material science, call an argument that does not defer to reason.

For the various rational arguments for the existence of God, whatever one makes of any of them, submit themselves honorably to the essential test of any legitimate argument appealing entirely to reason, namely the test of the possible counterexample. That is to say, if there is nothing that could happen, and no evidence that could possibly be cited, that would, if true, serve to undermine the theory, then the theory is by definition unfalsifiable, in the sense that it simply does not define its terms strictly and clearly enough to simultaneously define what must always be true in order for the theory itself to be believed, and therefore fails to qualify as a rational argument in the most basic sense.

For example, the theory of gravity explains why, on this Earth, solid objects, all things being equal, will always fall down, and never rise or simply hang in midair unless held there, or propelled by some force. It is a convenient theory, and so far, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever disproved it with a counterexample. But we can know what would disprove it. If ever we noticed a solid mass that did not fall down to earth, that would be it for gravitational theory as we know it. It would, from that moment, have to be regarded as an inadequate or incomplete explanation of why objects fall, since we would now know that the explanation it provided did not apply to all the material objects to which it purports to apply. Thus, gravitational theory, as we now have it, is a falsifiable theory — we know exactly what kind of evidence would, if discovered, undermine it — and, given the test of time, it has turned out to be a very good theory. 

In the case of climate change, what evidence could be cited to undermine the theory? It is raining harder this year — proof of climate change. It rained less than usual over the past few years — also proof of climate change. A particularly bad storm year — climate change. A surprisingly mild storm year — climate change. An absolutely average storm year — yet again, climate change. Nothing at all could happen to the weather in any given season or year, or to the overall patterns of weather over any given number of years, that would not be accepted, by both the “experts” of climate change and the propagandized masses, as being perfectly consistent with the theory. Hence, it is the clearest example of an unfalsifiable theory, which is to say a non-theory. An irrational explanation. At best, a plausible mythology.

Will this mythology ever find its Anselm, its Aquinas, its Ockham, its Gödel, to attempt a genuine rational proof of its claims, which is to say a proof which implicitly provides everyone with an understandable way that the proof could, in theory, be rationally disputed or undermined? Perhaps, I suppose. But it is hard to imagine it happening in the current climate, in which grant money, academic group-think, and political opportunism hold sway, and far too much money and effort is invested in selling the mythology on its own terms, with anything resembling reason employed only as the means of piling on quasi-scholarly “support” for a presupposed and supposedly unquestionable hypothesis — and when that unquestionability is continually foisted on the public and, through professional peer pressure, on the expert class itself, by means of an obvious fallacy of appeal to authority, the infamous “97% of scientists agree” mantra.

Another way to say this is to note, as I have many times before, that if the mainstream climate experts and their political allies were truly devoted to establishing a theoretical case for their catastrophic predictions that would hold up to rational scrutiny, surely they would not be so invested in encouraging the general population to believe absurdities and urban myths of proportions at least as catastrophic on the moral and intellectual level as any cataclysm their preferred climate models predict for the weather. To take the most common instance of this mass hypnosis, I never cease to marvel at the willingness of people everywhere, of any age, from any walk of life — including most of the university professors and graduate students on two continents with whom I have ever conversed about the weather in any context since I entered graduate school over thirty years ago — to swear, with the sincerity and solemnity of one providing eyewitness testimony in court, that the weather in their town or nation has changed so drastically since they were young. “It was never this hot when I was a boy.” “We never had rain like this thirty years ago.” “I never saw such dry summers in the past.” “We used to have four distinct seasons, but not anymore.” To which, when I am in a particularly devilish mood, or looking to make a new enemy, I reply, “If global warming theory, as promoted by 97% of scientists, is completely accurate, then global temperatures have risen, on average, about one degree over the past century, and perhaps 0.4 degrees or less over the years since you were young. Are you sure you could feel that difference, and not only feel it, but feel it strongly enough to remember it with such certainty, for the sake of comparing your sensory experiences of the weather across a span of twenty or thirty years? Isn’t it more likely, in this case, that we are all prone to doing anecdotally more or less the same thing the experts and political agenda writers are doing theoretically, namely making our models and data — our vague memories and subjective sense of the past — fit the hypothesis at all costs, simply because we have all had it drilled into our minds that the hypothesis is not to be questioned?” 

Since these subjective accounts, or at least the vast majority of them, must be regarded as unreliable and implausible, according to the internal logic of the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis itself, may we not take the refusal of the “climate science community” to publicly dispute such accounts as unreasonable and false, and to warn the public against making such insupportable and delusional claims about the realistic effects of climate change (as their own theory presents it), as indicating that they believe they have a vested interest in promoting mass silliness and delusion about this issue among the wider public? And if this is so, are we not obliged to ask why they would see such an anti-scientific perspective regarding their own area of inquiry as being to their benefit?

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