Anthony's took the day off so he allowed one of the nuttier nutters to run the nuthouse at wattsupwiththat. Eric Worrall has posted an article at WUWT (archived here).
Eric is arguing that Occam's Razor disproves the greenhouse effect.
Oh Eric didn't say that in so many words, but applying Occam's Razor to his simple thought processes suggests that is the case. For example, this is the crux of Eric's argument:
... if we reject the principle of Occam’s Razor, we open the door to accepting theories of arbitrary, ultimately infinite complexity. A theory created by researchers who do not accept the principle of Occam’s Razor cannot be falsified, because the theory can always be tweaked in arbitrary ways to avoid falsification.
So why does applying the principle of Occam’s Razor force us to reject the theory that anthropogenic CO2 is the main driver of contemporary climate change? The reason is that nature has produced periods of warming similar to the recent warming, without any significant contribution from Anthropogenic CO2.
So we have two competing hypothesis for what is driving contemporary climate change:-
- Observed natural variation, which has produced periods of warming statistically indistinguishable from the warming which ended in 1998.
- Observed natural variation + an unproven assumption that Anthropogenic CO2 is now the main driver of Climate Change.
Eric just made it up out of thin air that there are "two competing hypothesis". There aren't. Science shows that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that when it's increasing like it is now, then Earth will get hotter, like it does now. He is also wrong about his notion that a theory "can always be tweaked in arbitrary ways to avoid falsification". There is a limit to how much a theory can be modified in the light of new evidence. If the basis of a theory is completely wrong, the entire theory will eventually break down and be discarded.
Clearly the second hypothesis fails the test of Occam’s Razor. In the absence of compelling evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has overridden natural variation, we have to accept hypothesis 1 – that observed climate change is the result of natural variation.
Now there are a few things wrong with that logic. First it doesn't follow that CO2 must "over-ride natural variation" for all the rise in temperature to be attributable to natural variation. All that is needed is to show that natural variation does not account for all the changes to climate.
Secondly, climate change is much more than a rise in global surface temperature. There are what is known as fingerprints of climate change, which indicate the cause. One of these is the temperature change in the stratosphere compared to the troposphere. Both are measured. Because the stratosphere is cooling, it shows that the warming troposphere is caused by the build up of greenhouse gases. Eric doesn't mention that inconvenient fact, probably because it conflicts with his own hypothesis. As Eric says, the simplest explanation is the most likely. I'll add the caveat that whatever the explanation, it has to fit with the evidence.
Thirdly, we don't "have to" accept anything but the evidence that supports the theory. We have a choice. We can choose to be like Eric and other deniers of science and reject the science and take pot luck about the consequences of that decision. Or we can accept the evidence and the associated explanation and make informed decisions.
Lastly, there is evidence that CO2 is increasing. It's been measured. Toward the end of the video below, you'll see just how much CO2 has built up over the past 800,000 years:
And, of course, scientists have been able to work out and explain quite clearly what has contributed to global warming and by how much. Click the chart to enlarge it.
|Source: IPCC AR5 WG1 Fig. TS7.1|
The simplest explanation
Occam's razor suggests a hypothesis when it comes to Eric Worrall, based on his article and his history. I know he's read HotWhopper and I know he's been visiting lots of different climate blogs, those that write about science as well as those that reject science and/or promote pseudo-science.: He actively rejects science.
The reason for him actively rejecting science could be any and quite possibly all of the following:
- He wants to curry favour with the denialati.
- He suffers motivated reasoning because of his ideology.
- He doesn't understand science.
From the WUWT comments
March 22, 2014 at 4:23 am
I go along with that. Good post many thanks.
Village Idiot points out the idiocy using a simple logical fallacy and responds to Martin (who tried to bring science into the mix):
March 22, 2014 at 1:03 am
Martin: You’ve entirely missed the point of the good Professors piece. Bringing stuff like data, facts and physical laws into the mix, just making it more complex.
Let me try to again explain the simple beauty of the argument:
It’s been as hot or hotter as it is now during the last millions of years (without human emissions) therefore humans have no influence on climate now.
Try a bit harder. It’s really just a matter of faith ;-)
Roy complains that there needs to be a grade school primer sent to him personally, because he's incapable of doing his own research using Google, and says:
March 22, 2014 at 2:19 am
Have supporters of the consensus ever claimed that natural variation is properly understood? If not their claim that the science is settled was clearly bogus from the start – and they knew it.
On the other hand, if they really do think that natural variation is understood have they published an explanation of it anywhere on the web that could be understood by a lay person?
Frederick Davies says:
March 22, 2014 at 2:36 am
Great (and more importantly, clear) post.
lgl asks Eric and inconvenient question and says:
March 22, 2014 at 2:39 am
Fine, but what is the ‘simplest explanation’ for the 1880-1998 rise?
cedarhill says he's not about to let facts get in the way of his science denial, or something:
March 22, 2014 at 3:09 am
Facts are not a deterrent in the warmist political campaign. After all, how many Americans under the age of 30 are not aware the Earth circles the Sun? Regardless, facts and logic are still fun things.
AlecM is a greenhouse effect denier who makes up his own "physics" and says:
March 22, 2014 at 4:09 am
No truly professional engineer or physicist agrees with the central premise of the ‘enhanced greenhouse effect’, the assumption that the Earth’s surface emits to the atmosphere net real IR energy as if it were a black body in radiative equilibrium with absolute zero.
This juvenile mistake, predicting three times intrinsic CO2 warming, is from incorrect physics taught in Meteorology and Climate Science. It is our era’s equivalent of the 18th Century’s ‘Phlogiston’, also debunked when real scientists did real experiments. The analogy is apposite because Phlogiston was supposed to be a 5th Greek Humour, emitted from heated bodies!