Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Dog eat dog - Spencer v Eschenbach

It is clear to anyone who has watched climate science deniers in their various subspecies for any length of time that there are almost as many varieties of ice cream in an Italian ice cream shop.  That it never occurs to them to wonder why this might be so is one of the great unanswered questions of our times.  Then something odd happens.  A fight breaks out between two climate science deniers.

All right, fight might be a bit of an overstatement, but disagreement is also a bit too weak.  This could lead to a duel to ensure that dignity and pride is maintained and the antagonists are Dr Roy Spencer and Willis Eschenbach.

Spencer is a real scientist, just one who has decided that the argument over the cause of climate change is not worth having because God is doing it.  He signed a bit of paper (all right, online form) that says so.  And he has published a vapid and science free article about how he believes in intelligent design.  So he has form of not being a scientist even while having the necessary bits of paper that prove he is.

Willis is, well, a hotch potch of whatever seemed to interest him at the time.  His bits of paper suggest he could give someone a massage but scientist he is not.  I have bits of paper that say I could be a scientist, but I am not a practising one. 

Anyway, Willis published something or other at WUWT based on satellite data and some correlations.  The sort of thing he enjoys doing.  Spencer, rightly in my opinion, calls out Willis as an armchair scientist who thinks he has made a wonderful discovery when all he is doing is repeating what professional scientists have done and discarded many years ago.  Spencer explains how scientists work, looking at lots of possibilities before honing in on the best explanation. 

But Willis, citizen scientist he, is a tad grumpy at being called out.  So he responds at WUWT and thus a fight has broken out.  In the tradition of British school playgrounds, a circle of people egging the pair on has formed.  No surprises there. 

Having broken that barrier, the climate deniers could be more honest.  Since science examines the evidence and arrives at the best explanation, the fact that evidence is leading the deniers down multiple lines of explanation should invoke Ockham's Razor: the most parsimonious explanation should prevail.  But deniers become wedded to their own favourites and it is clear that they jealously guard their own hypothesis. 

So let the battle commence. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, dogs have to eat, too.
    Better than munching on cats.