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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Climate science and pox doctors



One of the great myths embedded in climate propaganda is the notion that some kind of scientific background is required to refute it. 

However, assessing climate scientists from a non-specialist angle is much like assessing the capabilities of an eighteenth century pox doctor. There were a number of obvious questions an eighteenth century gentleman such as James Boswell could usefully ask before submitting his intimate difficulties to the pox doctor.

Do I know of anyone he has cured?
Do I know of anyone he hasn’t cured?
Do I know of anyone he has killed.

If the pox doctor used mercury, as many did, it wasn’t necessary for the gentleman, or lady, to know much about medicinal effects of mercury other than the fact that it is poisonous. It was more important to know the pox doctor's actual record of curing people and whether or not he was likely to poison you in the process.

With climate science, the same mode of enquiry is appropriate, although with climate science, we didn't even know we had a problem requiring such an intrusive cure. Even so, we may ask three similar questions:-

Has climate science cured any specific problems?
Has climate science failed to cure any specific problems?
Has climate science made anything worse?

The answers to these questions are obviously

No - climate science has not cured any climate problems.
Yes - climate science has failed to cure the problem of unpredictable climate.
Yes - climate science has made us poorer.

So we have all the information we need. The only real differences between climate scientists and the old pox doctors are firstly - having to pay whether we consult them or not and secondly - we didn't have a problem in the first place.

5 comments:

Sam Vega said...

You flatter us non-scientists a bit, AKH.

Would a better analogy not be along the lines of diet? Climate scientists are pointing out that unless we change our ways, a whole load of stuff I can't even begin to understand will happen, and harm us. Nutritionists point out that unless I change my ways, a whole load of stuff I can't even begin to understand will happen, and harm me.

Even if I think I'm OK, they are telling me that my feelings are based on ignorant complacency.

It's not that I want to believe it, you understand, just that I have often benefitted from the advice of "experts" in the past, and so ignoring "experts" makes me anxious....

Roger said...

I thought one used to meet all one's friends at the pox doctors. Surely that is a major difference.

A K Haart said...

Sam - "You flatter us non-scientists a bit, AKH"

I suppose we all have to rely on the authority of experts, but politicians know it too well and also know how to attract unreliable experts to their cause. It's appalling that they should do it, but they do.

Roger - Boswell probably did.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I have another question which surely is killer as far as climate scientists are concerned:

"Has any of their predictions ever turned out to be correct?"

If the answer to that is ever "Yes", then I will sit up and take notice.

As long as it's "No", as it is at present, I regard them as about as much use as a chocolate fireguard - but obviously, much more expensive. And inedible.

A K Haart said...

WY - as far as I am aware, the answer to your question is no. Really it's the clincher - or should be.