Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Black Swans; an essay about global warming refutation logic
Physics Forums ^ | 5/7/2007 | Andre

Posted on 11/30/2009 9:35:33 PM PST by Mike Darancette

About the strikingly successful proofs of Einstein’s “risky” or “counter-intuitive” predictions based on the relativity theorems, Karl Popper ( observed:

“Now the impressive thing about this case is the risk involved in a prediction of this kind. If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted. The theory is incompatible with certain possible results of observation, in fact with results which everybody before Einstein would have expected. This is quite different from the situation I have previously described, when it turned out that the theories in question were compatible with the most divergent human behavior, so that it was practically impossible to describe any human behavior that might not be claimed to be a verification of these theories.

These considerations led me in the winter of 1919-20 to conclusions which I may now reformulate as follows.

1. It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory - if we look for confirmations.

2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory - an event which would have refuted the theory.

3. Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

5. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of "corroborating evidence.")

7. Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers - for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a "conventionalist twist" or a "conventionalist stratagem.")

One can sum up all this by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.”

So let’s project these ideas on global warming. It is clear that confirming evidence is difficult to obtain for a risk less hypothesis, if we assume that greenhouse effect exists. Proving global warming as in excessive –dangerous-, due to natural positive feedbacks and caused by anthropogenic CO2 is a bit more challenging. This is as close as it can get to Poppers second observation about risky predictions. Non natural experimental models however “sophisticated” or the mere observation that the temperatures and the CO2 are rising together on occasions however, would not pass Poppers criteria for convincing evidence for that prediction.

Neither proof -of course- would be the ignorance fallacy or the fallacy of the restricted choice: “Global warming can either be caused by higher solar output or more greenhouse effect. The solar output is not higher, so it must be greenhouse effect, what else can it be?”

Nevertheless, the natural reaction of testing the hypothesis nowadays (as in attempting falsification) appears to be opening the restricted choice and focussing on presenting alternative mechanisms for the atmospheric warming in the past decades: It could also be solar particles, variation in cloudiness, land use, aviation, direct heat anthropogenic sources and UHI, natural weather patterns. Alternatively, one could challenge the “anthropogenic” element by questioning the fraction of human C2 production against natural sources. All those cases have been made with considerable efforts. However, those elements are not in the refutation criteria of Karl Popper and the result is having competing ideas, mutually vulnerable for refutation, and triggering both sites onto the seventh observation of Karl Popper, destroying the idea by an attempt to make it invulnerable for refutation.

A classic popular illustration of refutation mechanism (does not work in Australia) is the all-swans-are-white hypothesis, since millions are; but the hypothesis crumbles, if we find a single black one. Global warming has many white swans. The ice is melting - white swan. It's getting warmer - white swan, CO2 and temperatures have both risen roughly between 1975 and 1998, white swan. Ice cores white, Venus white, Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) white; there is a body of white swan evidence in the IPCC reports. Oh occasionally there are incidents. Somebody found a grey goose and painted it white and it was called the hockeystick. The animal has been cleaned and it’s a grey goose again, proving nor disproving anything except for the determination to find white swans for some reasons.

How about real black swans? It appears that we need only one single occasion where the CO2 positive feedback on CO2 rise -the mainstay of the global warming hypothesis- is not present, while it should have.

Such a process has been demonstrated by Olavi Kärner and the missing positive feedback in the atmospheric processes. This could be considered a real black swan,

Karner, O., On nonstationarity and antipersistency in global temperature series, J. Geophys. Res., 107(0), XXXX, doi:10.1029/2001JD002024, 2002. (

But it is beyond me why this swan only exists scantily at the webpage of its owner, whereas it should have been paragraph one of the IPCC summary for policy makers. Therefore it is recommended to testers of the global warming hypothesis, not to focus on proving competing hypotheses but concentrate on finding black swans and explain to the public why those destroy the catastrophic global warming idea. Suitable areas could be the empiric observations of the role of water vapour in climate modification compared in continental and maritime climates. Efforts are underway to demonstrate that the ice cores do not show positive feedback behaviour, as propagated, to explain the Pleistocene glaciation cycles.

Those black swans are needed first and only if they have done the job, then the scientifically sound searches for new hypotheses explaining the current warming, ice ages, the PETM, Venus, etc can be resumed

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agw; blackswans; climaquiddick; climategate; fraud; globalwarming; popper
The environmental hucksters are killing or hiding all the black swans.
1 posted on 11/30/2009 9:35:33 PM PST by Mike Darancette
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Mike Darancette
Oh for Pete's sake. There are LOTS of Black Swans.

The refutable theory is that increased atmospheric CO2 levels cause increased global average temperatures.

The fact that the data show atmospheric CO2 levels LAGGING temperature increases should be a big, fat Black Swan with fangs and a bad attitude. It absolutely and completely refutes the CO2-causes-global-warming theory. Period. End of debate.

(A lagging factor CANNOT be a causal factor, folks.)

But instead, it is ignored.

2 posted on 11/30/2009 9:57:45 PM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TChris
But instead, it is ignored.

Exactly so. The fraudulent CRU controls the data and the peer review process. They also have no qualms in ruining the careers of anyone who is a skeptic.

3 posted on 11/30/2009 10:09:35 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Obama: Creating/saving jobs in Iran's nuclear industry)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Mike Darancette
well, since the enviro's are clearly not Einsteins, different rules must apply.
4 posted on 11/30/2009 10:15:35 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (whitey's over it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mike Darancette

The current debate isn’t about science. It’s about criminal justice.

5 posted on 11/30/2009 10:49:38 PM PST by SpaceBar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mike Darancette
Here's a simple black swan.

All the AGW computer models predicted continually rising global temperatures from the 1990’s to present.

It didn't happen. Global temperatures haven't risen in more than a decade. In fact they've been declining in spite of still rising CO2 levels.

That's the simple elephant in the living room. The models were wrong. Dead wrong. Yet these people continue to demand that they are really right... They've been desperately attempting to manipulate global temperature records in order to make their previous predictions match instead of simply saying our models failed to account for what really happened.

6 posted on 11/30/2009 11:03:17 PM PST by DB
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mike Darancette; Thunder90; Little Bill; Nervous Tick; 4horses+amule; Desdemona; Fractal Trader; ...

Beam me to Planet Gore !

7 posted on 11/30/2009 11:05:56 PM PST by steelyourfaith (Time to prosecute Al Gore now that fellow scam artist Bernie Madoff is in stir.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mike Darancette

Popper’s philosophy is superb.

“The difference between the astrological and the scientific is that astrology can never be falsified whereas science must be falsifiable.”

The Supreme Council of Climate Change has in only a decade or two transformed its body of work from science to astrology; there is always a dismissive explanation for anomalous cooling while warming exists somewhere if one simply looks for the proper phase and alignment in the Zodiac of Climate Change.

8 posted on 12/01/2009 12:15:37 AM PST by Hostage
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SpaceBar
The current debate isn’t about science. It’s about criminal justice.

And if Solar Cycle 24 continues to remain weak, we may enter a prolonged cooling. This winter should be worse then last. The unusual warmth we had in November that followed the unusual cold October, was what used to be referred to as an Indian Summer. Expect December, January and February to be worse then last winter. Summer 2010 should be very dismal. Watch what happens in Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina to get a taste. The question now is how many will freeze to death this winter in the Northern Hemisphere ? Will we see entire small villages frozen to death ? How many of these people would not have frozen if cheap energy had been available ?

9 posted on 12/01/2009 12:42:44 AM PST by justa-hairyape
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Mike Darancette
In this case the dogma of St. Algore simply declares black swans to not exist and anyone seeing a black swan is a denier and heretic. We have seen this before in the Salem witch trials where no one questioned the existence of witches and “spectral” evidence from dreams and visions was allowed to be used in court to prove people guilty of witchcraft.
10 posted on 12/01/2009 5:27:37 AM PST by The Great RJ ("The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." M. Thatcher)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson