Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Science--Kinda Sorta

The 09/12/06 Detroit News has an AP report by Randolph E. Schmid titled "Study links warming, hurricane strength." The part that struck me was this quote:

**"The work that we've done kind of closes the loop here," said Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., a co-author of the paper.

"The important conclusion is that the observed (sea-surface temperature) increases in these hurricane breeding grounds cannot be explained by natural processes alone," Wigley said. "The best explanation for these changes has to include a large human influence."**

Please understand what using this kind of criterion for establishing truth means. It means that, in practice, "We don't have any proof that Mr. Walker murdered Mr. Smith, but Mr. Smith's death cannot be explained by looking at any other people. The best explanation is that Mr. Walker had a large causal influence."

Such is the depth to which government funded science has sunk. Ayn Rand said that "Governmental encouragement does not order men to believe that the false is true, it merely makes them indifferent to the issue of truth or falsehood." This study is a glaring example of just such indifference.

There are lots of other things wrong with that report, like how do you "kind of close a loop"? and why are they using link instead of correlation?, but I think I've made my main point.

(The quote is from Ayn Rand's essay "Establishing of an Establishment" which is now in the book "Philosophy Who Needs It?" page 162 and can be found at most book stores or here.)

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