The Modeler and the Ego

Have you noticed the lack of news about Global Warming lately?  It’s due to the lack of warming that’s been happening since 1998.  The global temperature has leveled off (and even declined), leading to a panic in the world of climate modelers.  They’re experiencing “psychic shock”, or the shock a novice psychic gets when they discover the future isn’t doing what they predicted it to.

Climate modeling is not an exact science.  Some people have had moderate success (such as James Hansen, who’s models predicted some warming, but then failed to predict the global temperature decline).  But the truth is that modeling is an educated guess, at best.  People have staked their academic reputation on the ability to construct a computer simulation that estimates planetary climate changes.

Now here’s the problem.  The last thing a climate modeler wants to be is proven wrong, as it’s taken many years for them to get a model that’s been published– a model people are thinking is accurate.  You don’t want to have your research models shown to be complete crap– something that’s happening to modelers as the world stops warming.  Some are claiming its a correction or artificial forcing (and something they failed to predict).  Others have introduced more and more variables to account for their original miscalculation.

It reminds me of what Copernicus would have experienced (he died shortly after publishing his data– a smart move for his less-enlightened time).  The Ptolemaic model of the Geocentric solar system was supported by everyone, even though more and more data showed deviations from the model, which went from a simple system to one incredibly convoluted and complex mess.  Copernicus’ measurements and methods used the Sun as a center, and his calculations worked much better with the actual movements of the planets than those of a sun-centered system.

Unfortunately for the modelers, their models have proven to be seriously flawed.  They don’t want to be discredited, and they don’t want to have to completely recreate their models.  What’s worse is that political leaders have now entered the fray and they don’t want to be humiliated by backing the models.  As a result, they apply great pressure to the scientists to get their models right, or to keep their models right.  As a result, instead of a discussion on the models and their conclusions, we have an immutable “law” of global warming, and those who offer proof against these ideas are considered outcasts and are attacked through a variety of non-scientific means.

As a result, we’re entering an age where a prevailing political force is controlling a scientific debate– much like the Church did in the age of Copernicus and Galileo.  Those who disagree with the prevailing paradigm are attacked as shills for an industry or tools of the rival political party (a result of the politicization of a scientific field).

Effectively, the ego of the climate modeler and the backing politician has stifled debate on the subject and has obscured what the truth of the current warming (and cooling) trend is.

It’s truly a feat of ego to state your research methods can predict climate actions on a planetary scale.  It’s also a feat of ego to ignore physical observations and attempt to bend them to meet your incorrect conclusion.  Finally, it’s a feat of ego to attempt to control the scientific method and process of discovery to push your political conclusion upon the whole of humanity.

If your models are wrong, and continue to be wrong, perhaps your model (and assumptions therein) are wrong.  It is clear the climate modelers cannot predict what is happening with the world.  CO2 emissions are still rising, and CO2 atmospheric concentration is still rising, but temperatures are not conforming to the CO2 concentration.  Something’s wrong.  Accept it, and reevaluate the impact of CO2 on the climate and start looking at other forces which are also contributing, in a greater scale, to the planetary temperature changes.


2 Responses to “The Modeler and the Ego”

  1. July 26, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Umnnnhhhh….be careful, here.

    The Church did not have problems with Galileo because of his astronomical theories. They had problems with him because he was proposing new THEOLOGY based on his observations.

    Big difference.

    Yes, Copernicus (and Galileo) were correct. But Copernicus did not muck around in theo. He just laid out the facts.

    BTW, isn’t it wonderful to know that big chunks of the Wisconsin Climate Report are based on elmination of CO2–which is NOT a cause of warming–which warming is cyclical, anyway?

  2. 2 docattheautopsy
    July 26, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks for the ‘watch out’. I wasn’t aware Galileo was attempting to start a new religion, just that he was able to make some observations that flew against the norm. (Galileo also had an ego problem– he wasn’t willing to accept Church temperance on the idea and slowly prepare the masses for the new revelation, and instead wanted in published post-haste, which also alienated him from the Church.)

    I’m not surprised that any climate report has an AGW connection– they basically have to toe that line to get funding. I’m even throwing AGW into one of my solar panel research projects just to play the funding game.

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My name is Doc. Welcome to my blog. If you're visiting from another blog, add me to your blogroll (and I'll happily reciprocate). I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and live in Wisconsin. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. My email is docattheautopsy at gmail. (No linking to deflate the incredible spam monsters).



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