The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Scientists Predicted Ice Age? Not True

Posted by Bill Nance on October 17, 2009

I keep reading snark as well as serious arguments claiming that Global Warming is a myth. It seems that invariably in these screeds someone mentions that in the 70s there was some hoopla about the “coming Ice Age.”

Now, I remember being in school in the mid-70’s and remember reading something along these lines. But in fact, as a study published in the Bulletin of The American Meteorlogical Society shows, the people screaming gloom and doom over an ice age were newspaper reporters, not overwhelmingly scientists.

In the early to mid 70’s climatology was still a science still in it’s infancy, and more importantly a science without things like the space shuttle, or U-2 and SR-71 aircraft to use in their observations. Heck, weather satellites were still a fairly recent thing.

The report shows that due to some cooling observed from the mid-1940’s some scientists did indeed make the claim. –About 12% of them. The other 88% reported either no change (16%) or increased warming (72%).

climatology

Virtually all of the reports citing the possibility of global cooling came out in the years 1967 and 1971. By 1976 virtually no one was making the claim.

Find another straw-man argument folks, global warming is happening. We may or may not be able to address its man-made aspects in time to make a difference. But pretending it isn’t happening at all when there’s a broad concensus among climatologists and other scientists that it is and it is at least partially man-made just makes you look like a putz.  This isn’t Chemistry. It’s a theoretical science. We can’t prove the existence of black holes or human evolution either. We extrapolate from the data, come up with theories which best explain our observations. Global warming has been beaten to death by climatologists from day one. At this point, virtually none of the experts are questioning it any more. That’s called scientific consensus. Yes, it’s still theory, but no, no one has come up with an alternative that tests out as plausible.

When broad scientific consensus is reached and points to something with catastrophic consequences for the entire human race, only a jackass makes it a matter of political point-scoring. We can argue all day about what the best possible course of action to deal with global warming may be. To argue that it isn’t happening or that we shouldn’t even try to address it is stupid at best a racially suicidal at worst.

When Rush Limbaugh shows me his PhD in a related hard science I’ll be interested in his nattering. Until then I’ll rely on what the actual experts tell me, thanks

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2 Responses to “Scientists Predicted Ice Age? Not True”

  1. One of the best arguments against assigning value to scientific consensus comes right out of history. It’s been 20 years since I read Paul De Kruif’s (I might even be spelling the name wrong, but it’s been a while!) “Microbe Hunters,” a biography about early microbiologists. I do remember quite clearly, and in other texts as well, how much Louis Pasteur’s career suffered because he would not accept the ”science’ of Phrenology, or of analyzing the shape of someone’s head to predict propensities for aberrant behavior. Pasteur had to take work in a vinegar distillery because of his demand for highly refined statistical relatedness in lieu of coarse treatment of data.
    In truth, it’s a good thing that Pasteur was a rogue. He was dead and gone a long time before Phrenology was debunked, but Pasteur’s accomplishments and famous stance against a psuedoscience was enough to create a damand in science for a higher standard in data treatment before declaring a debate complete. Too bad that so many people forget about history when it comes to dealing in scientific matters.

  2. Bill Nance said

    To compare Louis Pasteur’s time, which was replete with psuedo-scientific silliness being taught to the year 2009 is frankly silly.

    The standards of scientific evidence, the peer review process, the entire concept of double-blind studies were not even being practiced. Next you’ll be arguing that because witches were considered very real and a very real threat by even “educated” men in the 15th century that education isn’t worth bothering with.

    I’ve heard this argument before and it falls flat on it’s face.

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