Monday, October 8, 2012

Matt Ridley -- Confirmation Bias

GWPF has Matt Ridley's "The Perils of Confirmation Bias":
The modus operandi of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) has been to accumulate evidence to champion rather than challenge a hypothesis, namely that rising carbon dioxide levels will in future cause dangerous climate change.
The climate models reliance on fudge factors is a particularly egregious example.  The reason that climate science is broken?
Every important new idea in science is “replicated” or tested by another team than the one that put forward the idea. And it is this process that has gone missing in climate science. It is unreasonable to expect a climate scientist to seek evidence against his favoured hypothesis; but it is not unreasonable to expect governments to back the partisans of other hypotheses: that man-made climate change may be real but not dangerous because of lack of positive feedbacks; that it may be less powerful than some natural causes of change; or that there are negative feedbacks that reduce the effects of man-made warming.
Instead of this, anybody who champions one of these hypotheses is often accused of “denial” or of not “believing” in climate change, and frequently subjected to a surprising level of abuse.
Climate scientists and their media champions equate such scepticism with scepticism about, say, the theory of evolution. Yet evolution is an explanation of facts; dangerous man-made climate change is a prediction about the future. Theories about the future are always less reliable than theories about the past. I can have confidence that the reports that it rained last Tuesday are true, while doubting the forecast that it will rain next Tuesday. Besides there are many examples of scientific orthodoxies that brooked little dissent in their heyday and yet were often wrong, such as behaviourism and Freudianism. In one case, the parallel with climate science is uncomfortably close.

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