"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Birthday Today - Einstein, Falsifiability, and the Global Warming Industry

It's Albert Einstein's birthday today.   One thing among many that's worth noting about Einstein... he proposed his theory of special relativity, providing a new way of looking at space-time, in 1905.  He derived it from the mathematics.   But, and here's the key point, as described on Wikipedia, the theory was later supported by experimental evidence:
Like all falsifiable scientific theories, relativity makes predictions that can be tested by experiment. In the case of special relativity, these include the principle of relativity, the constancy of the speed of light, and time dilation. The predictions of special relativity have been confirmed in numerous tests since Einstein published his paper in 1905, but three experiments conducted between 1881 and 1938 were critical to its validation. These are the Michelson–Morley experiment, the Kennedy–Thorndike experiment, and the Ives–Stilwell experiment. Einstein derived the Lorentz transformations from first principles in 1905, but these three experiments allow the transformations to be induced from experimental evidence.... Those classic experiments have been repeated many times with increased precision.

In other words, while Einstein was a revolutionary thinker, he did not revolutionize the basic mode of science.    Create a theory, test the theory with experiment, confirm or "falsify" the theory; if falsified, then change the theory.   That's how science works:   theories must be falsifiable.

The problem with current theorists of global warming (and, for that matter, string theory in physics) is that they do not adhere to this pattern of traditional science.   For global warming theorists, man-made global warming, a theory, cannot be falsified by data showing that the earth has not warmed over the pats 15 years, or by data showing that the earth was warmer in the medieval warm period, or by data showing that we are, in fact, in a long cooling period spanning several millennia, or by any other data.   They will not give up their paradigm no matter what, because their paradigm fuels the financial behemoth of the global warming hysteria/green energy industry.

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