Tuesday, March 27, 2007

James Hansen on scientific reticence

A preprint on the arXiv
was written by Rev. James Hansen, the vice-prophet of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) denomination. He proves that the sea levels will rise more than 6 times (and probably 20 times) faster in the 21st century than they did in the last 50 years.

His proof is based on the concept of "scientific reticence" which is an improved version of "scientific consensus". While the consensus method allows one to prove numbers that many people who haven't looked at it carefully - but who voted for the same politicians - agree with even though they don't have any evidence, "scientific reticence" is much better because it allows a scientist to prove numbers that are about 30 times higher than the numbers obtained by the method of the "scientific consensus". The reticence method is thus clearly superior. How does it work?

In the context of the sea levels, the existence of reticence is proven by Rev. Hansen's story from California. A lawyer noticed that Hansen was not a glaciologist and he wanted to know the name of at least one glaciologist who publicly agrees with Hansen's statement that the sea level will rise by more than one meter in the next century. Hansen couldn't name one which he uses as a proof that there is "scientific reticence". Because there is no one who publicly agrees with him, it follows that scientists are reticent and their predictions of catastrophes are therefore huge underestimates.

Another paper from Rev. Hansen's list of references that supports the theory of reticence is the paper by Barber (1961) that discusses "resistance by scientists to scientific discovery". It implies, among other things, that if you want to have some good science, you should first execute all scientists because they will prevent any scientific progress. Instead, you should hire people like Rev. Al Gore to do the science.

This well-established reticence is then used to prove theorems such as that
  • the climate scientists who downplayed the dangers of climate change have received more funding
  • there is a pressure on scientists to be conservative
  • scientists are so reticent that all of them underestimate the sea level rise by orders of magnitude
As a corollary, Hansen has proven that Lenny Susskind's picture of the multiverse is correct because Hansen must obviously live in a different universe than your humble correspondent.

Hansen hasn't considered the possibility that it is the largest ocean who is reticent - or at least Pacific; in Czech, we call it The Silent Ocean.

At any rate, Rev. Hansen has essentially proven all of his prophecies - and the only task for your humble correspondent is to avoid possible accusations of reticence and say very loudly that Rev. Hansen has approached Woitian levels of "depth", "relevance", and "objectivity" of scientific argumentation. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Unless you want to use your brain.

And that's the memo.

Via Willie Soon.

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