Thursday, March 22, 2007

Orson Scott Card on Global Warming.

Here's the raw truth:

All the computer models are wrong. They have not only failed to predict the future, they can't even predict that past.

That is, when you run their software with the data from, say, the 1970s or 1980s, and project what should happen in the 1990s or 2000s, they project results that have absolutely nothing to do with the known climate data for those decades.

In other words, the models don't work. The only way to make them "work" is to take the known results and then fiddle with the software until it finally produces them. That's not how honest science is done.

-- Orson Scott Card


You can read the whole thing here, and very good it is:

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2007-03-04-1.html

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6 comments:

Kirby Uber said...

brilliant! i'll be passing this around.

Drake Bodan said...

ha ha ha ha
He obviously never worked in a university department then.

Models for complex systems virtually never work but you never just rely on a model. You collect data continually so that one day you eventually, if you are really lucky, get the two to coincide.

Guys you are cherry picking arguements. yes they are valid but they are only one aspect of the whole picture. Are the Glaciers melt yes. Is this a problem yes.

Drake.

Neal Asher said...

With nicely illustrates how we should not be relying on models for something apparently so important.

Glaciers melt every year, Drake. Polar bears swim every year. Showing me pictures of either is not going to convince me there's a problem. Was it a problem during the Medieval Warm Period or the Holocene Maximum? Well, oddly, the Polar bears survived both and there are few records then of floods.

Anonymous said...

I remember doing an Environmental Chemistry module about 15 years ago.

Back then the whole Global Warming question was still acknowledged as being a question, not a conclusion. So we were shown documentaries and whatnot on both sides of the argument. One of the things I remember was that someone had taken the best "Pro-Global Warming" model at the time and asked it to predict the next months weather. The model decided that the central Sahara was due as much rainfall as central Glasgow...Ooops

Drake, you're right - models for complex systems never work. Yet a lot of people only point this out when someone points to a failure in their pet model(*). If we don't even understand all of the mechanisms involved in the system. How can we make sweeping predictions about what will happen down the line?

The Jury is still out on Global Warming, as far as I am concerned.

Do we need to research it further? Yes.
Do we need to think hard about our impact as a species? Yes
Should we shout down any research which contradicts our pet theory and accuse people of vested interests(*)? No.

Cheers,
Tim

(*) NOTE: For the record, I am not accusing anyone of doing these things. I think they are symptomatic of both sides of the debate, as carried out in the media. Although a case could be made that they are in fact symptomatic of the media itself... :-?

Neal Asher said...

Tim, the problem with this is that further research is being conducted, but not to find out more but merely to confirm one or the other side of a polarized argument. I fall on the 'I don't think so' side because it seems everytime something comes up which says no to AGW there's someone out there trying to fudge it to fit: hence aerosols and the like. It seems a lot of so-called science is being conducted on the basis of 'this is the answer, now well make the question fit it'. Certainly this is the case with the models.

Anonymous said...

Neal,

I think you've hit the nail on the head regarding the problem. This has become a polarised argument with a whole "You're either with us or against us" mentality on both sides.

Personally, I think the climate is changing - but, that's what it does.

We don't understand enough about how and why it changes to even think about answering the question of who changes it. Basic research need to be done first.

I think that taking a few precautions to minimise any potential impact on our end, can't hurt.

We're now moving towards a point where we can technologically do that, without economically screwing ourselves. I think that it's just good sense.

Cheers,
Tim