Some sort of new scientific method created by the AGW people

James Delingpole on Post-Normal ScienceEdit

Post-normal science and the AGW movement were made for one another. No need for any of that tedious objectivity; no need for careful observation or the risk of frustration through falsification. All that mattered now was the quality of the ‘narrative’, the scariness of the future scenarios cooked up by computer models which — as the hockey stick curve demonstrated — could predict for you whatever you wanted them to predict.

One of the great exponents of post-normal science is the Tyndall Centre’s Mike Hulme. In the wake of Climategate, Hulme has very successfully positioned himself at the likeable, accessible, undogmatic centre-ground between the warmists and the sceptics. But his views on the proper function of science could scarcely be more extreme.

Hulme once wrote: ‘The function of climate change I suggest, is not as a lower-case environmental phenomenon to be solved... It really is not about stopping climate chaos. Instead, we need to see how we can use the idea of climate change — the matrix of ecological functions, power relationships, cultural discourses and materials flows that climate change reveals — to rethink how we take forward our political, social, economic and personal projects over the decades to come.’

‘Climate change’, in other words, has little if anything to do with science. (Or as Mike Hulme once put it: ‘Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science.’) It’s not a genuine problem to be solved, but a handy excuse — with a fashionable green glow — to advance a particular social and political agenda under the cloak of ecological righteousness and scientific authority.

After Climategate, we are entitled to ask: ‘What scientific authority?’ It’s all very well for someone like Lord Rees to defend the Royal Society’s position on global warming by brandishing ‘Nullius in verba’ as if it were still the kitemark of irrefutable truth. But the fact is his institution’s integrity lies in tatters precisely because it has done the thing its motto says it never does: it listened to a coterie of post-normal scientists who were more interested in political activism than objective truth — and went and took their word for it.


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