Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Weekly Column - 11/04/2011

This week's column:

"The criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability." – Karl Popper

Concern over global warming seems confined to worrisome progressives. It requires a bit of sophistication, which its proponents insist its detractors lack; a more important qualification is affluence. Inhabitants of the third world are too busy trying to survive to be terribly bothered about the prospects for planet health many years hence. Even those who live in countries of the industrialized world may find more prescient matters with which to worry themselves. This may be undesirable, but it is also difficult to deny. President Obama found it necessary to adjust his presidential priorities for this very reason: those who are without a job find it hard to concern themselves with something that may possibly occur in the future. Should the economy pick up next year, global warming may again prove an important political issue. But if unemployment remains rampant, politicians will continue to do all in their power to address the short-term problem first.

Nonetheless, it may be a good time to examine the case for man-made global warming. The weather of late has not been conducive to alter the position of those who think Al Gore’s cause célèbre is bunk. Yet while inclement weather is not sufficient to disprove Gore’s case, the cause he champions is nonetheless fatally flawed. It is not so much that I don’t think that the scientists have proven their argument case as that they cannot do so. It is entirely possible that man-made global warming is occurring, but we cannot know that this is so.

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