2.0: CAGW Has the Red Flags of a Hoax

At the outset, it must be emphasized that CAGW has many indicia of being a hoax.  This alone is not a sufficient reason to dismiss the hypothesis, but it certainly shows that the hypothesis deserves careful scrutiny.

First, telling people that some horrible thing will happen unless they take action now (said action conveniently serving the interests of the person making the prediction) is one of the oldest scams in the book.

Second, CAGW fits the “metanarrative.”  In other words, the CAGW hypothesis satisfies the psychological need of many people to paint wealthy, westernized people as villains who victimize poor innocent people in the third world.

Third, the CAGW Hypothesis is largely self-serving.  In other words, if the public believes in the CAGW Hypothesis, it advances the interests of the researchers and politicians who push the CAGW Hypothesis.

Fourth, alarmists seem to claim that just about every weather event is consistent with CAGW.   If there is a drought, they say “aha! global warming!”  If there is a flood, they say “aha global warming!”  If there is a heat wave, they say “aha! global warming!” If there is a cold snap, they say “that’s weather, not climate” etc. etc.  In short, just about everything confirms their beliefs and nothing undermines those beliefs. 

In my experience, an honest hypothesis is wide open to being disproven.  A crank or BS hypothesis is not open to being disproven.

Let me put it another way:  Karl Popper pointed out that a valid hypothesis should tell us that something will NOT happen in the world.  Otherwise, it’s meaningless.  The CAGW Hypothesis doesn’t seem to rule anything out.  Certainly not in the near future, and not really in the distant future either.

CAGW is like the vague prophecies of Nostradamus.  Everything can be spun to be “consistent with” the predictions. 

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Objections/FAQ

2.1 But skeptics’ claims are often self-serving too.

To be sure, observations similar to 2 and 3 could be made about many persons skeptical of CAGW.  However, that is a reason to be more skeptical and cautious about such persons’ statements.  It is not a reason to be less skeptical and cautious about the CAGW Hypothesis itself.

2.2 How does it serve a scientist’s interest to promote fraud?  He or she would be risking his career. 

Yes, a scientist would be risking his or her career by out and out lying about results.  However, it’s not necessary to engage in blatant fraud to promote CAGW.  In the course of doing and publishing research, a researcher must make many judgments about what data to collect, which results to discard, how to analyze the data, etc.  If a researcher spins things a bit here and there in such a way as to support the CAGW Hypothesis, it’s highly unlikely that his or her career would be at risk. 

2.3  But if a researcher published convincing proof that CAGW is false, he would win the Nobel Prize.

Honestly, I doubt it.  Julian Simon made a pretty convincing case against Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” scare.  It doesn’t seem that Julian Simon has gotten the accolades he deserves.  Anyway, it’s always possible to explain away evidence and arguments against CAGW.  So if a researcher publishes results which contradict the CAGW Hypothesis, it’s not necessarily the case that he will be immediately acknowledged as some kind of hero.  More likely he will be castigated.

History shows that’s what frequently happens to people who go against the dominant view, whether they are right or wrong.

2.4 Are you claiming that there is some sort of conspiracy going on?

Absolutely not.  There is no need for a traditional conspiracy in which the participants get together and agree upon a course of conduct.  What’s going on is more akin to “groupthink” where each participant goes along (or more likely, keeps his or her mouth shut) for his or her own reasons.  By analogy, think back to the internet stock bubble where certain stock prices went to ridiculous levels.  There was no conspiracy, just self-propogating hysteria.

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