4 Jan

A physicist explains what “incontrovertible” really means

Leslie Eastman @ Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion:

A year ago, sixteen scientists wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal to explain that there is “no compelling scientific argument” for “drastic actions on global warming”, despite the fact that the media continues reporting there is “incontrovertible” proof otherwise.

One of those scientists is Dr. Roger Cohen, who spent over 40 years in industrial research in the electronics and energy industries and was the Senior Director for Exxon’s Corporate Research Laboratories and Manager of Strategic Planning and Programs. At the time of the opinion piece, he was a member of the Executive Committee of the American Physical Society’s Topical Group on the Physics of Climate.

No longer.

And the reasons for his resignation show how pure science is being repressed in favor of pushing an “incontrovertible” political agenda. It’s like Galileo, but with the pontiffs heading “global warming theology”.

The American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society have shed their traditional roles as supporters of science inquiry in favor of out and out advocacy. It is also widely known that scientists seeking to publish opposing scientific evidence experience great difficulty getting papers published in journals sponsored by these societies and others.

However the American Physical Society (APS) – the second largest society of physicists in the world, and my “home society” – had stopped short of this level of shrill advocacy and bias. Physicists, perhaps more broadly trained in their relatively mature field and having a somewhat broader perspective than some other science practitioners, might be expected to adopt a more hands off stance when it comes declaring a complex and difficult science question “settled.” And indeed this was the case…until the 2007 Statement on Climate Change was issued.

The preparation of that statement was antithetical to traditional scientific approaches. A small group of eco-activists who were not satisfied with the degree of alarm contained in the original drafts acted “unilaterally and without authority” to include more scare-mongering language. In fact, the revised statement included a clearly anti-scientific phrase that angered many APS members: “The science is incontrovertible.”

Cohen then spear-headed a petition drive, which produced a request for the Climate Statement to be moderated that was signed by nearly 300 physicists (including nearly 100 Fellows of major scientific societies, 17 members of national academies, and two Nobel Laureates). Instead of modifying the fear level in favor of science, the APS simply added 750 words the statement explaining what the original 157 words really meant.

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About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.

4 Responses to A physicist explains what “incontrovertible” really means

  1. johngalt says: 1

    I believe that the thieves and pickpockets of our current times started the “science is settled” meme in order to bog down the honest truthseekers with a wholly separate idea in which they had to fight. They called in favors from the politically active “scientists” to sign on to some fictional account of what the climate was actually doing, and what the cause actually was, simply to gain funding, and line their own pockets.

    With this subterfuge in place, the honest truth seekers in science had two fronts to fight, instead of just one. One was the actual science itself. The other, the subterfuge, was public opinion. Public opinion is the front that relies not on actual science, but rather, using politically charged statements and appealing to emotions in order to “prove” your point. That is a hard front to fight, as conservatives have learned all too well in the taxation debate.

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  2. mathman says: 2

    Oxymoron: a self-contradictory statement.
    “The science is incontrovertible” is an oxymoron.
    If it is incontrovertible, it is not science.
    If it is science, it is not incontrovertible.
    To be Science, an hypothesis must be verifiable. If it is not verified, it is discarded.
    That is the basis for the entire Scientific method. If a theory cannot be disproved, it falls in the category of a religious faith or dogma.
    Galileo challenged a dogma: that the Earth does not move. He lacked the evidence to challenge the dogma. The evidence was long in coming–it took 150 years for the preservation of vibrational inertia (via the Foucault Pendulum) to provide demonstrable evidence of Earth’s rotation. Of course Bradley had shown earler that the aberration of light was caused by Earth’s rotation around the Sun, but this was not visible to the unaided senses.
    Pasteur did the same with the spontaneous generation of life.
    Einstein proposed his special theory of relativity, which modifies Newtonian gravitation. The new theory predicted the deviation of light near a strong gravitational source. This deviation was in fact provided during a solar eclipse. That is called verification.
    Our “climate scientists” have based their dogma on “computer models” which, in fact, cannot tell us the weather 30 days in advance, to say nothing of 100 years. They cannot even predict the degree of cloud cover! See the various hurricane tracks which are provided: they are NOT in agreement.
    The problem is that “science” comes from the Federal feedbag, and politicians only fund stuff which makes them look good. Little money is spent to replicate experiments, and so much “science” these days has never been verified. The Establishment is looking at a monster payout of billions of dollars on their pet projects, and they are not going to let that money go just because their theory is wrong. Jobs are at stake here!
    As for the Science: look to the quiet Sun, and to the big freeze in Alaska and Russia. It is cold out there. And anthropogenic global warming says it is warm. What are you going to believe, your frozen toes or my pet theory?

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  3. Redteam says: 3

    Incontrovertible is not a scientific term, it is a political term. The word means ‘not open to dispute or question’. Everyone knows that anything scientific with many variables is open to discussion. Some/most scientific laws are absolute. But the environment has many variables and will always be open to question. therefore the word ‘incontrovertible’ is not appropriate as a scientific term. Politically, if you don’t want someone to question it or your goal is to intimidate the uninformed then the use of the word incontrovertible can be very intimidating and very inappropriate.

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  4. Nan G says: 4

    When a propagandized ”environmentalist” sees the light:

    I want to start with some apologies.
    For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops.
    I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.

    As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path.
    I now regret it completely.

    So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.

    Whole transcript and video here:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/

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