Snow on the Dandenongs and the heaviest falls on Mt Buller for seven years provide further proof of “Climate Change”, if not of global warming. Keeping that distinction in mind is a precondition for not being swindled.

A second line of defence against mumbo-jumbo is to recall that the philosopher Karl Popper promoted falsifiability as essential to the logic of scientific enquiry. He reasoned that any hypothesis which is so structured as to be incapable of refutation is pseudo-science.

The “Climate-Change” band trumpets all data about rising temperatures as evidence to buttress their hypothesis. However, not so long ago they were perplexed by inconvenient truths such as the occasional severe winter. On the face of it, such cold snaps surely count against global warming? This is where the “Extreme Event” comes in handy.

The “Climate-Change” faithful now have the power to levitate above the embarrassment of awkward evidence. To deal with exceptions, they have conceived the metaphysical category of the “Extreme Event”. This phrase does not refer to weather which has extreme consequences, such as the past 48 hours in Victoria. The significance is altogether different. The “Extreme Event” is a device for ruling out the very possibility of contrary evidence and, thus, for denying the prospect of Popperian falsification.

The “Climate Change” sophists proceed thus: the anthropogenically-enhanced greenhouse effect does more than push up average temperatures. It also increases instability. So, while a denser greenhouse mostly makes the planet hotter/drier, it will also make it colder/wetter in some places at certain times.

That Janus outcome is indeed possible. Hence, to decide whether each event is evidence for or against one or other of the current explanations for the latest changes in climate, we need to specify causes. The devastation from Hurricane Katrina was so extreme because of policies of US governments. It is pseudo-science to attribute every hurricane or blizzard to an amorphous “Climate Change”.

If all swings in the weather are worshipped as manifestations of “Climate Change”, that hypothesis is elevated above the realm of rational enquiry. Its advocates have entered the domain of theology where all outcomes — even the cruelest — are accepted as God’s working in his mysterious ways to reveal his omnipotent Goodness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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