by Eric Grimsrud
It is time to move this debate forward. As the Prosecutor I will now attempt to do that in strict accordance with the Scientific Method, a portion of which Ed has previously summarized in his Post #2.
To the Jury:
In science, we have theories and we have observable facts. Our understanding of gravity, for example, is based on both theory and facts. In this case, the facts have become known as the Laws of Gravity (a set of equations) while the theory is the sort of thing that Einstein unsuccessfully wrestled with in his attempt for develop a Unified Field Theory. Theories differ from facts, of course. Theories never becomes facts. Theories are just models of a given physical system that attempt to explain to behavior of that system. Therefore, even the very best of all theories ever developed for any physical systems remain “just theories” and can never be proved to be factual or the ultimate expression of truth. The only outcome for theories is that they either survive after being tested by observable facts or they are shown to be incorrect by those tests. If the latter occurs, then we know that the theory is either completely or partially incorrect. Upon adjustment, the theory can then be retested.
Now let’s consider the theory that suggests that the combustion of fossil fuels will lead to increased levels of atmosphere CO2, which in turn will cause increased global temperatures (please see my opening statement for a summary of the basics of this concept). Let’s call it the AGWFFC Theory (for Anthropogenic Global Warming by Fossil Fuel Combustion Theory).
Now let me first provide a short list of a few of the observable measurements that we might use to test this AGWFFC Theory. These measurements might address the follow questions.
1. Has fossil fuel combustion increased during the Industrial Age of Man?
2. Has the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increased during that period?
3. How has the global average temperature changed during this period.
4. What other factors also effect global temperatures and must also be considered in answering question 3 above?
Now let me stop there for the moment acknowledging that this list of observables only constitutes a starting point. Concerning this short list, I am prepared to address any questions of statement the Defense might have concerning them. I will not risk potentially boring you with any details, however, unless specifically requested to do so by the Defense. Also, I will readily admit at the onset that we can find that any facts in this initial step that are in contradiction of the AGWFFC Theory, we will have already found a basis for discarding this Theory and can all go home.
If the theory holds up in this initial phase, however, we can then move on to consider additional tests of the theory that either the Defense or Prosecution might envision. And after that, we can move on to the more difficult questions concerning the quantitative details predicted by this theory. While I recognize that some of you members of the jury might be impatient and wish we could jump immediately to the last point just mentioned, let me remind you that the Defense has insisted on following a strict form of the Scientific Method and I will comply with that request, proceeding one careful small step at a time, unless instructed to do otherwise.
Now I am going to turn the floor over to the Defense for their response at this time. Specifically, if they would like me to provide evidence concerning points 1 to 4 listed above, I will be glad to do so. Also, if they want to provide such evidence in any other these areas that would be fine with the Prosecution – especially if that would prove the AGWFFC Theory to in incorrect. In that case, the AGWFFC theory will have been shown to be incorrect. The trial might then be over and we all could go home.
So where do we go from here? I’ll leave that to the Defense. I am open to any baby steps the Defense might request – in order to remain in strict compliance with a rigorous interpretation of the Scientific Method – or whatever leaps of procedure the Defense now might like to suggest.