Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams
notebuyer

Expertise

The key to understanding math, statistics, & science in general is to remember two things: first, the only real things are numbers. Second, numbers presented to you were generated to get a specific response at least 80% of the time: be suspcious of them.

Let's talk for a moment about "expertise" in biology and climate.

First, we had "experts" who told us that we were to be on the alert for massive numbers of AIDS cases contracted "heterosexually." Stories in the media thrummed with the beat. Sadly, the results indicated that it was bad statistics, not AIDS, that we were suffering from.

Climate change. Check this out. Check out the other posts on Thoughts Online Magazine on the subject. Now we have speculation in advance of the facts masquerading as knowledge. This from the same type of scientists who can't predict the weather from year to year with any certainty.

Federal weather officials had been saying for months that the region would have a wet winter, but the Southland hasn't recorded significant rain since May.

NOAA said the latest weather and ocean temperature data now show that El Niño will have "minimal effects" across California and the rest of North America, following the lead of other forecasters, who in recent weeks said El Niño was fizzling.

"The problem with forecasting El Niño is that it's like shooting craps," said William Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "The dice are loaded with this global warming thing, but we don't know exactly how they're loaded."

Some forecasters now believe the region is in for a record dry spell.


Wet? Dry? Something. It's a crap shoot. And you want me to believe you know about 80 years from now because you are using computer models?

I've listened to computer models before. But experience with computer models teaches you something: they don't work very well. And what's more interesting is that whatever catastrophe they are predicting (and they are all trying to induce a "state of fear" coupled with an assertion that the science was unquestionable so that you won't think to respond rationally), that catastrophe requires the government to solve it, and means that I will have to pay more taxes and submit to more decisions about my life being made elsewhere. And I've really had it with feeling helpless, thank you.

Let's agree on something. Farmer's Almanac uses an algorithm based on sunspots and a few other odd things, and is accurate 80% of the time. Until the computer guys achieve 80% accuracy, I'm not going to listen. I'm not really impressed with the claims of "more accuracy" that come with no number. And that is short term compared to the "climate models" that are being run here.

So, do I believe them?

No. I don't believe that they understand things as well as they pretend, I don't believe that they understand the "problem", and I definitely don't believe that any of the solutions they propose are either meaningful or directed at the problem.

Tim Blair documents the frenzy. He also notes that those who write it don't really believe it: they just want the reaction. The fear that comes from crisis, the fear that leads people to make stupid decisions: that is the goal.

UPDATE: Somebody's Noticing.

FURTHER NOTE:John C. Wright has the best comment.
Tags: environmentalism over ecology again, statistics
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