6.0(c) Authority

The last argument I see commonly made in support of CAGW is the argument that some authority has accepted the CAGW hypothesis.

However, on closer inspection, it seems that most of these statements contain equivocal language and/or employ the same bait and switch mentioned in Rule 1.1 below.  For example, according to Wikipedia, here’s what the American Meteorological Society said:

There is now clear evidence that the mean annual temperature at the Earth’s surface, averaged over the entire globe, has been increasing in the past 200 years. There is also clear evidence that the abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased over the same period. In the past decade, significant progress has been made toward a better understanding of the climate system and toward improved projections of long-term climate change… Human activities have become a major source of environmental change. Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases… Because greenhouse gases continue to increase, we are, in effect, conducting a global climate experiment, neither planned nor controlled, the results of which may present unprecedented challenges to our wisdom and foresight as well as have significant impacts on our natural and societal systems

Sorry, but that is NOT an acceptance of CAGW.  Read it carefully, and here’s the test:  Assume for the moment that CAGW is incorrect.  Does it necessarily follow that the statement was wrong?  No!.

In any event, situations can and do arise where the “experts” are wrong.  So even if lots of experts unequivocally endorsed the CAGW hypothesis, it would be interesting, but not necessarily determinative of anything. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that the statements and actions of an organization do not necessarily represent the views of the organization’s membership.  Situations can and do arise where a representative group or committee decides issues differently than would be decided by the people it represents.  For example, one might ask why Switzerland did not join the European Union.  It seems that unlike other European nations, the issue of Swiss membership in the European Union was put to a vote of individual citizens.  As opposed to a vote of the Swiss legislature.  The kind of person who goes through the trouble of ending up on a legislature or executive committee is not your average person.


Objections / FAQ

6.1 How dare you — a non-scientist — challenge the authority of actual scientists?

Very easily.  For one thing, it’s a lot easier to have the knowledege and thinking ability to see serious problems with a hypothesis than to be reasonably satisfied that the hypothesis is correct.  The former requires you to break only one link in the chain.

Indeed, I suspect that a lot of these climate scientists probably have backgrounds in statistics and modeling which are not too different from mine.  (I took numerous advanced classes in statistics and modeling as an undergraduate.)

In any event, you (the person reading this and objecting) are probably not a scientist either.  Do you feel you are qualified to go against such scientists as Richard Lindzen and Bob Carter? 

Ultimately, anybody’s arguments must stand or fall on their own merits  – regardless of the person’s credentials.  But in any event, if you believe (as a non-scientist) that non-scientists are not qualified to evaluate the CAGW hypothesis, then there is no need for you to debate the issue with me.


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