For some reason, the climate has been on my mind. So let's talk about climate change. In particular, I want to focus on hypothesis testing.
Science is about creating hypotheses and testing those hypotheses in as controlled a setting as possible. If reality is at odds with a hypothesis, the hypothesis has to be modified or rejected outright. As a friend of mine noted, "Science is a harsh mistress."
It pains me, then, to see claims that unusually warm winters and unusually cold winters are both signs of climate change. Perhaps it's true, but it's not scientific evidence of a theory if both A and not A are supposed to support the same theory.
A number of news stories have come out recently that cast doubt on the accuracy of the science behind man-made climate change, starting with the release of the emails from East Anglia University and continuing with articles on how bits and pieces of evidence (shrinking rainforests, disappearing ice cover) were not measured scientifically, but were instead anecdotes from self-interested individuals. The cry from the warming alarmists is that these revelations change nothing. Really? Can't we agree that, while some bad science doesn't necessarily rebut the entire theory, evidence of bad science at least reduces our confidence in the theory?
I recently read that NBC, which is broadcasting the Vancouver Olympics in the U.S., is planning to make a big deal of the lack of snow in Vancouver and how this is also somehow related to global warming, er, climate change. (Interesting how the name changed!) But NBC is owned by GE, which has obtained billions in federal funds for "green" projects and stands to gain billions more if the U.S. passes a carbon tax. Again, this doesn't mean that what NBC says is wrong, but one ought to consider the source...follow the money. Global warming alarmist Grand Poobah Al Gore has also made millions from such dubious activities as peddling carbon offsets, all the while preaching the gospel of climate change. Certainly making a profit off one's beliefs isn't bad in and of itself, but the connection - urging governments to spend billions and then raking off a share of those billions - ought to give one pause.