Comments about ‘Charles Krauthammer: The myth of 'settled science' is hapless and dangerous’

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Published: Sunday, Feb. 23 2014 6:56 p.m. MST

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Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

The IPCC actually claims no link between global warming and any sort of increased frequency in tornadoes anyway. In fact, one might expect fewer tornadoes in a warming climate since the poles warm more than the tropics reducing the temperature gradient.

That's an example of the problem that people who consider climate change a serious issue have... a decent number of them make claims that aren't backed up by the science they claim to be proclaiming.

AggieScientist
Logan, UT

When is science settled? In Krauthammer's estimation, and I would agree, almost never. But at some point, the preponderance of evidence supports a given result beyond reasonable criticism. I believe this to be the President's position as well as that of leading climate scientists.

A corollary is smoking and cancer. There is no experimental evidence that smoking causes long cancer (except in rats). It's all correlational, yet there little doubt that this is the case (although the tobacco industries have tried mightily to cast doubt on these findings, much like those who have a vested interest in denying global warming).

higv
Dietrich, ID

Another one never to be questioned was population explosion. Which has been failed prophecy many times over. Way to control people.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Great article Dr. Krauthammer! Science is always so fleeting! Everything we think we know in any science will eventually be proven to be either completely wrong or at least very incomplete. One things we all need to understand; any "scientist" that claims to have the final word on anything, including climate change, is no scientist! As our grandparent's science is to us, so will our science be to our grandchildren and it is utter foolishness and dangerous to mix a lot of politics with a little bit of science and call it fact!

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Krauthammer, does have a point about the rhetoric, however what is not settled is what will happen, and not so much what has happened.

Even Freemn Dyson concedes co2 is accumulating at an alarming rate in the atmosphere and that it is caused by human activity. He simply disagrees with what that means.

Dyson is a good example however. Dyson is a world class physicist with broad interests and a passion for and an expert in the scientific method. Thus his debate with climate research. The fact is however that climate research compared to other scientific subjects is new and the community is searching around for facts. Dyson is simply saying I'll give you that but what about..and the vast community is saying we're getting there, and we believe the arrow still is pointing in this direction.

Dyson also did research into evolution and came up with the idea of a double beginning which would change the "settled" science of evolution but doesn't change the fact of "evolution" at all.

So Charles rock on with your semantic war, but be careful with where you aim your skepticism.

FT
salt lake city, UT

Spoken like a paid, Fox New correspondent with little to no background in the subject. Straddling the fence let's him gather his pay check while not damanging his "Dr." mantle. No sir, the facts are facts. CO2 trapped in our atmosphere casuses climate change. Now it you don't want to do anything and pass that problem on to our children and grandchildren than so be it.

higv
Dietrich, ID

There have been some pretty cold winters including one recently. How does global warming account for that? Gravity is settled science. Global warming isn't. When the doomsdayer population explosion people were wrong they just tried to cover it up. Electricity gas gives us longer life spans and makes life more comfortable. Need to keep things clean water and air and businesses do a good job of it. No proof human activity necessary for survival does anything to change the climate.

RG
Buena Vista, VA

to FT: please address Krauthammer's specific claims, which are also made by many others, that the earth has not warmed in 15 years, and that we have fewer hurricanes, and that the models have all been way wrong. Also, contrary to Gore's predictions, the Arctic ice is still there, plus the Antarctic ice has been growing to the point it trapped a ship full of climate scientists out to prove global warming. Now, if the earth does ever warm, this has been predicted by others to be a net benefit. Sure, it will hurt some, but fewer people will die of cold weather problems, for example.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

It must nice to be able to pick and choose that some concepts need only circumstantial evidence and some need evidence beyond a shred of doubt. Convenient, too.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

Is global warming a complex issue? Of course it is. Will climate models require refining as new data are obtained? Sure, that's how science works.

What is _not_ subject to debate are these simple, well-established facts:

CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

Atmospheric CO2 levels are higher now than in the past several hundred thousand years, and climbing rapidly.

The CO2 that's being loaded into the atmosphere has been traced to the combustion of fossil fuels.

Globally, our climate is changing, and changing rapidly - tremendously faster than natural climate change. Arctic ices are shrinking rapidly and getting thinner. Worldwide, glaciers are in high-speed retreat.

Globally, January 2014 was the hottest January since 2007 and the fourth highest average temperature for January since formal temperature records began in 1880. January 2014 was also the 38th consecutive January and 347th consecutive month (almost 29 years) with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

Australia is in the middle of a severe heat wave. Much of the western US in in a condition of severe drought.

Krauthammer's article is akin to saying that because cancer is complex and some findings about cancer detection are now being questioned, that therefore cancer doesn't exist.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

Immutability and scientific concepts are antithetical. Science is living, changing and hopefully improving. Jimmy Carter said during his presidency that the world would run out of fossil fuels very soon, perhaps a decade. Leave science, uninfluenced by political pressure and the love of money, to find its own way.

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

@higv
"There have been some pretty cold winters including one recently. How does global warming account for that?"

Weather patterns (okay I realize that this is going to result in "oh sure you all only say that for cold events" comments so I'll explain now).

Think of it this way. Let's pretend there's no warming at all for 100 years. Same global temperature average every year. Weather patterns will lead to say the Eastern US having a cold winter one year, and Western Europe having a warm winter that same year (so that everything is balanced globally). Maybe another winter Western US is warm and Russia is cold, etc. etc.

We should expect the same thing with weather patterns (some colder some warmer) in a warming climate too, but the overall average should be going up. So let's take this past January which was a top ten coldest January in some Eastern states. Globally it was 1.17C above average, the 4th warmest January on record. That +1.17C is the climate change/global warming signal. The variation from one place to another is the influence of the weather patterns that occurred during the month.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

" Gravity is settled science. Global warming isn't." Really? Care to tell us just what gravity is? There is a whole community of physicists who would be enthralled if you could tell them what it was.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

No, science is never fully settled. The models are approximations only (because they are models, not reality). We will only EVER know how accurate or inaccurate they are until after-the-fact. And models (all scientific models) are fully accurate only by a bit of chance.

Models cannot predict exact outcomes (again, except by chance) but rather general trends. And the general trends are clear. We can argue whether we are 20 degrees to the left or 20 degrees to the right, but the general direction is still clear.

Time to stop the word games and hiding behind definitions that do not really define anything.

Science is a building process over time. But we have enough data to make reasonable decisions now.

Waiting for perfect knowledge mean we have waited so long that we no longer have the ability to change course. Not a wise move.

liberate
Sandy, UT

Yes, science is ever-changing. So we should never accept any of its conclusions and always assume we can live as we always have without any consequences. Mr. Krauthammer, I accept your position and agree we should be skeptical. But you have demonstrated exactly what is wrong with the non-science community through this article by ignoring the preponderance of successful diagnoses based on science and selecting only those example that fit your agenda of suggesting science leads to false conclusions. The vast majority of science-based conclusions lead us forward. Occasionally (and maybe even often) we have examples such as the mammogram. But those are the exceptions, not the rule.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

"Settled Religion" has proven to be far more dangerous in the historical record.

Sven
Morgan, UT

Excellent article by Dr. Krauthammer.

Dr. Krauthammer said: "If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing?" This statement goes to the heart of the issue.

Consider:

1) The arctic ice sheet has grown by nearly 60% in 2013, 2) Leaked documents from Fifth Assessment Report of the UN IPCC have overestimated warming on their climate models, and have shown NO WARMING for the past 16 years, 3) The monster storms and hurricanes that we were warned about never came to fruition, 4) The arctic ice that the AGW crowd said would be gone by 2013 has grown (See No. 1), 5) Top AGW "scientists" were shown to have manipulated their data supposedly confirming AGW was taking place, 6) Scientists are now concerned the lack of sun spot activity means we're going to a cooling phase, and 7) The Polar Vortex hitting our nation.

As Dr. Krauthammer said: "So much for settledness..."

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

When I find out that I getting bad information, trust in lost. Belief is only something I can count on or depend on.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Science is fleeting. I can agree that science changes over time. That is how science is designed.

"Utter foolishness and dangerous to mix a lot of politics with a little bit of science and call it fact!"

Yes many people want to mix a lot of Religion into politics and be completely at ease.

I can assure you that throughout the world, there is much more disagreement by "religious experts" concerning Religion, than there are Scientific experts concerning Climate change.

Could we all agree with Dr K when he says

"I've long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

So, then the question becomes, "What should we do about that?"

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

Agreed....

Nations and Terrorists are killing each other to "Settle Religion",
Science? Not so much so...

Because -- Science deals with Facts and Data, not feelings or opinions...

BTW -- I am very Religious, and very Scientific.
I can be done,
I use feelings and the Spirit help me understand God,
I use facts and Data to help me understand His Creations.

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