Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Scientific method, eh?

On page A19 in today's WSJ, there is an article titled "Global Warming Delusions," authored by Daniel B. Botkin, a noted environmental scholar and author. I here excerpt two of my favorite paragraphs, again clearly expressing the logic I go by (emphases mine):

"You might think I must be one of those know-nothing naysayers who believes global warming is a liberal plot. On the contrary, I am a biologist and ecologist who has worked on global warming, and have been concerned about its effects, since 1968. I've developed the computer model of forest growth that has been used widely to forecast possible effects of global warming on life--I've used the model for that purpose myself, and to forecast likely effects on specific endangered species.
"I'm not a naysayer. I'm a scientist who believes in the scientific method and in what facts tell us. I have worked for 40 years to try to improve our environment and improve human life as well. I believe we can do this only from a basis in reality, but that is not what I see happening now. Instead, like fashions that took hold in the past and are eloquently analyzed in the classic 19th century book "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," the popular imagination today appears to have been captured by beliefs that have little scientific basis.
"...Oddly, the forecasts of computer models have become our new reality, while facts such as the few extinctions of the past 2.5 million years are pushed aside, as if they were not our reality."

(Granted, I do take issue with his estimate of 2.5 million years - the evidence I've studied so far indicates a total age of closer to 8,000 years. But anyway - the rest of his views I agree with: use the scientific method and not guesses, for once!)

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