Some guy named Joel Connelly at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has written another one of those “We must do something now” global warming articles. What makes his piece distinct is that he compares those who express honest skepticism in global warming claims with those who deny the holocaust.
This sort of thing is exceedingly moronic, yes, but it is one more empirical observation that shows Godwin’s Law continues to hold. That law states:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
And let’s not forget that exquisite corollary of Godwin’s Law, Benford’s Law of Controversy:
Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of information available.
Connelly’s piece follows Benford’s Law, too, because of the one thing that I find happening with increasing frequency. Here’s a quote:
Nobody is certain what will happen.
So far, however, change has proceeded at a faster pace than even pessimistic scientists predicted a few years ago.
Who could have forecast a 2-degree rise in Antarctica’s temperature in just 35 years? Nobody forecast the breaking off of giant Antarctic ice shelves. The rapid shrinking of the Arctic ice pack has surprised researchers…
Nobody is “certain what will happen”, except Connelly of course, because he then uses the empirical fact that scientists with their best models have failed to predict actual observations to argue that we should believe those scientists’ models and that “we must act quickly, within a decade.”
My friends, the opposite is true. If scientists are failing to predict actual observations, then we should have increased skepticism that what those scientists are saying will actually come to pass. At the very least, we should increase the error bounds, the “plus or minuses”, that accompany their predictions.
It also does not follow that because the model error is negative, i.e. that more warming took place than was predicted, that the situation is even worse than we thought, and that even faster warming rates will occur. This argument is a logical fallacy unless it is conjoined with the additional premiss that “warming must occur, and that if our predictions show that less warming will occur than actually does happen, then even greater warming will take place.” But if you assume that premiss, then your argument is circular, and therefore useless.
Failed predictions should not lead to increased passionate belief in those predictions.