Is Global Warming Science Falsifiable? If No, Then It’s Not Science …

Few things are more important for the scientific method than verifiability. Scientific models need to be verifiable in order to be scientific, which means that evidence to confirm a theory must be possible (you’d think this was obvious … it’s not). And usually evidence must be plentiful before a theory can reach a state of general acceptance. That’s what seems to be the case with climate change. It has supporting evidence in plenty (it really does), and it has therefore reached a state of general acceptance.

But do you know what other scientific theories reached general acceptance based on what looked like overwhelming confirming evidence? The geocentric model for the solar system. Spontaneous generation. Phrenology. Humorism. Honestly, the list is long. And it hasn’t been fully compiled yet, I’m sure. I’m very much looking forward to adding a few more to it eventually.

The problem is that a plentitude of evidence is no guarantee of scientific water tightness. In fact, abundant confirming evidence can sometimes protect an extraordinarily flawed scientific theory from critical inquiry. Ever since Karl Popper championed the concept of falsifiability and Thomas Kuhn outlined the regular pitfalls of confirmation bias, verifiability has lost much of its luster.

Don’t tell global warming enthusiasts that though. As far as they’re concerned, all evidence for global warming supports their theories. But also all evidence against global warming supports their theories. Perhaps one of the strongest indications that we should be questioning the man-made global warming theory is the fact that it doesn’t seem possible to prove it false. In other words, it fails Popper’s scientific test for falsifiability.

In case you’re not familiar with Popper or his contributions to the scientific method, here’s a little rundown on the falsifiability principle:

A statement is called falsifiable if it is possible to conceive an observation or an argument which proves the statement in question to be false.

For example, by the problem of induction, no number of confirming observations can verify a universal generalization, such as All swans are white, yet it is logically possible to falsify it by observing a single black swan. Thus, the term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability. Some statements, such as It will be raining here in one million years, are falsifiable in principle, but not in practice.

So let’s ask the question: “Is the theory of man-made global warming falsifiable in practice?” Is there any observation or argument which could prove it false? The answer to that question appears to be no. And that should be troubling to its proponents. Just take the recent report that Antarctic sea ice is actually growing, not shrinking. You would think that fact would at least cause some people to pause and question things considering the fact that the melting of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice has been used for years as evidence confirming human-induced global warming and nearly every single model made by global warming scientists predicted that Antarctic sea ice should be shrinking.

Watching global warming scientists and true believers scramble for explanations on this one has been pretty hilarious. Here’s a scientist’s attempt at an explanation:

. . . Dr. Guy Williams, a sea ice scientist at the Tasmanian Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (Imas), says that even though it had fooled climate models the increasing sea ice was well understood by scientists.

“In some ways it’s a bit counterintuitive for people trying to understand how global warming is affecting our polar regions, but in fact it’s actually completely in line with how climate scientists expect Antarctica and the Southern Ocean to respond. Particularly in respect to increased winds and increased melt water,” said Williams.

Yes. The phenomenon was so well understood by scientists that they completely failed to account for it. And here’s a laymen’s obviously less sophisticated but equally ridiculous approach:

It’s like when the ice cream drops off your cone onto the ground on a hot day made hotter by global warming. As it melts the puddle of ice cream gets bigger. That’s what’s happened to the Antarctic.

Ummm. Sure. Melting ice cream is a whole lot like freezing ice. Just in case you’re wondering, that was an actual comment by an actual person. I’m going to move on now.

Global warming models have made many long term predictions, almost none of which have been accurate. The “tipping point” predictions about how urgently we need to turn the CO2 boat around before its too late? They have been continuing to extend further and further out like the icy shores of Antarctica. Predictions of the extraordinary frequency and power of mega-super storms? Quite the opposite actually. Rising sea levels? Not consistent. Hiatus in global temperature increases? Never saw it coming.

To me, when your scientific model fails time and time again to accurately predict observable phenomena, you need a new scientific model. But it seems that the global warming faithful are as credulous as the Rapture-practicing Apocalypse watchers over at Harold Camping’s church. No matter how many times evidence comes up in contradiction to their paradigm, they continue to double down. A little retooling, a jargonated bloviation or two, and the man-made global warming apocalypse is as good as new!