From the climatic sidelines: Stephen Schneider (Stanford University, IPCC) on the global warming debate

Effective science is often dogged by the antics of skeptics who look out the window and say, “look the temperature didn’t go up this year yet CO2 did – I rest my argument, enhanced greenhouse driven global change is not occurring”. Stephen Schneider, a climatologist from Stanford University discusses this issue and more in a response to Don Aitkin (the political scientist and author of ‘Good science isn’t about consensus”):

“Such contrarians ascribe to the false god of falsification, that is, a critic finding one or even several lines of argument contrary to mainstream consensus who then claims they have falsified the conventional conclusion. That’s how simple science used to be done. For example, if you have a liquid in a test tube, and you want to know if it’s an acid or alkaline, one piece of litmus paper can falsify a wrong preliminary hypothesis. But in complex system science, like tobacco and cancer, or greenhouse gas build-ups and climate change, hundreds and even thousands of studies are needed to build a consensus. A few dozen exceptions do not remotely falsify the vast preponderance of accumulated evidence. System science is based on preponderance of all the evidence, not on a few exceptions.”


Click above for the full audio of Schneider’s response, or read the full transcript over at the ABC (link)

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