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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Worth reprinting from Professor Fred Singer's Science & Environmental Policy ProjectGuest Editorial by Kenneth A. Haapala

A remarkable revolution in thinking occurred in the 17th Century – the creation of modern empirical science, which is one of the greatest achievements of civilization. It marks the major difference between the medieval world and the modern world. At the beginning of the Century, most educated people thought in terms of medieval science; at the end of the Century most thought in terms of modern science.

To the medieval scientist what one believes and who believes it were vital. To the modern scientist how and why is most important. Beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not authority or intuition. To the modern scientific mind, if pronouncements from authorities, be they Aristotle, religious leaders, governments, computer models, etc., do not stand up to empirical observation; then, they are wrong.

Copernicus hypothesized that the Earth has a twofold motion: a daily rotation, and an annual revolution about the Sun. Man was no longer the center of the universe with his place on a fixed Earth -- which outraged religious leaders, Catholic and Protestant, as well as Aristotelian scientists. Kepler simplified the hypothesis by using elliptical orbits, questioning the assumptions of the ancients who believed heavenly bodies must move in perfect circles.

Galileo insisted that scientific knowledge comes from repeated observations and experiments which he used to develop the concept of acceleration, the law of falling bodies, the parallelogram law, and, using the telescope, discovered that the Sun is not immutable, there are more than seven heavenly bodies, etc. – all contradicting Aristotelian scientists. Newton built upon these works for his laws of motion and the
universal law of gravitation, from which came planetary theory, orbits of comets, etc.

The remarkable change in thinking included the elimination of the animist belief of life force, which has no place in physics. Purpose is not needed to explain scientific procedures, comets are not portents, authority and assumptions are to be constantly questioned, skepticism is vital to expanding knowledge, and experiments and observations are paramount.

A very disturbing trend is the dogmatic belief that Man is the principal cause of the recent warming. It appears to be a regression to medieval science, with its claimed ‘consensus’ and its insistence on the authority of the UN-IPCC and computer models. Yet the assumptions of the models have not been tested and the models fail basic empirical tests such as the “fingerprint” test. The IPCC uses a panel of advocates,“experts,” who assign probabilities to their work. This is no better than a panel of Aristotelian scientists assigning probabilities that Galileo is wrong.

We must not return to medieval thinking.

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Yet again we find you peddling what is essentially an argument from authority. There is a great deal wrong with this article but let's just look at the authority part.

Kenneth A Haapala is an economist:

Fred Singer is an electrical engineer and notorious corporate shill:

Why do you persist on quoting scientists from disciplines other than climatology when discussing climate change? This practice has as much validity as calling a plumber to fix your roof. The real reason is of course that the vast majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that it is caused by man. Thus you have to bring in 'scientists' from other areas and hope your readers do not realise that your 'experts' have no authority in the field of climatology.

Oh and, by the way, as further testimony to the accuracy of Mr Haapala's article, the Seventeenth
Century was not in the Middle Ages:
Singer is a climate scientist, among other things. He is not a climate computer modeller but then that puts you back in the situatio9n of saying that creation science must be right because the only scientist opposing it aren't creation scientists.

The article is, if you had read it, not about climatology but about the philosophy of science. That is not the exclusive area of "climate sc ientists" & "creation scientists".

If you had been up to reading it you would also have known it is quite specificly about the difference between Medieval & 17th science & thus saved making an ass of yourself again.
I don't see how anybody can take you seriously on matters of fact and evidence, Neil. The longest ever comment thread on your site is full of you refusing to admit an inconsequential mistake, even after you've been comprehensively proved wrong :)

Do you still think I work for the BBC Neil? Are you ever going to admit that your prejudices led you to make a mistake? And that you then compounded it, over and over, by always seeing what you wanted to see instead of what was actually there?

If you're so blinded by pride and emotion on such an inconsequential matter as the employment status of someone you've never met, why on earth would anyone listen to you on subjects of any import?

ps. SYB'ers, please don't feel compelled to join in. It won't be any fun. He'll get distracted and start burbling about something else. I'd like the poor petal to keep focussed. Thing is, I think he's realised he was wrong on this one. That realisation is very, very rare for Neil but has the power to do him an immense amount of good. So I'd like to keep scratching away at the scab until he either admits it like the man he aspires to be, or explodes like a Dalek trying to divide by zero.
I do think the evidence I quoted does suggest that some Branes have access to BBC reo=cords & while I was at one stage inclining to think that their denials could be trusted as you will have seen they have proven to be wholly dishonest on other subjects so accepting their word would obviously not be warrented.
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