Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Modest (Scientific) Proposal*

He either fears his fate too much,
or his rewards are small,
who dares not put it to the test
to win - or lose - it all.
- James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
Perhaps the greatest loss from this excessively bureaucratized and regulated world is a loss of nerve.  The Conventional Wisdom is nothing if not conventional, and today's Organization Man finds a cushy position by not rocking the conventional wisdom's boat.

This actually explains 90% of Sturgeon's Law ("90% of everything is crap.").  I would add Borepatch's Corollary, which is large infusions of Government cash and/or regulatory oversight raises this to 99%.

Offered as proof points, the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Q. E. D.

The Fed.Gov has spent something like $90 Billion over the last 25 years on Global Warming research.  90% (per Sturgeon) or 99% (per Borepatch) is crap.  After all, who would upend the gravy train that funded his job?

And so, the lamentably pitiful state of climate science these days.  It's astonishingly weak, and shows no signs of getting stronger - after all, who wants to upset the apple cart that pays for his research lab?

I actually have a serious proposal that would greatly strengthen the state of climate science: Allocate $20M a year for 5 years to scientists who can falsify the current thinking on Global Warming.

This is actually a no-lose proposition for the current scientific community.  Consider: It's possible that nobody can falsify the current consensus view with its fiddled data, lousy model predictions, "divergence problem" ("hide the decline") and all the other stuff that I've so richly mocked here.  If so, imagine what a shot in the arm this would be to Greenpeace.  The other possibility is that the new scientific Young Turks rip the lousy science to shreds, hanging the bleeding carcases of bad statistical algorithms from the castle gates.

And that last option is a spectacular win, because scientists will do what they've always done - improve the theories, the research techniques, and execution.  Climate science, freed from the dead hand of an ossified consensus, will leap forward.

Srlsy, there's no downside to this.  Maybe a Progressive or two should climb on the bandwagon.  What, do you fear your scientific fate too much?  Montrose didn't, and is remembered in song, over beer and fine whiskey:

* Aretae tells me that I'm really not allowed to use this in a post that doesn't advocate for braised baby shank on the menu.


Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Allocate $20M a year for 5 years to scientists who can falsify the current thinking on Global Warming."

This. It should be standard required practice for any .gov funded research to spend at least an equal amount on research intended to falsify the findings of the original research.

Differ said...

Pournelle suggests similar. But that fact that you need to propose this to promote the very essence of the scientific method merely amplifies the assertion that the CAGW crowd are merely pursuing an agenda..."the science is settled" is anathema to science itself.

Borepatch said...

Of course, the government won't ever do this. But a privately funded "Climate prize" seems like it might be possible.