Science BLOG - GLOBAL WARMING pg 2
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Bernard Souw's remarks on the proposed 2007 APS statement:
Regarding the word "incontrovertible", not only is the word rarely used because science is always skeptical and critical about prevailing ideas, but explanation is needed as to what criteria is thereby applied and how credible the judgment is. The magnitude of the observed warming continues to be a subject of worldwide controversy, especially regarding how much part is caused by human activity. Even more doubtful is, whether or not human activity would manage to reverse the observed effect. Thus, the recited consequence of not taking mitigating action is more an expression of fear based on speculation, rather than a scientific conclusion based on facts and known natural laws.
So far, predictions on global warming are mostly based on statistics, i.e., extrapolation of data, but much less on deterministic climate models with stochastic and/or probabilistic programming approach . Without deterministic modeling the mechanism of global warming is in fact not yet understood. It is unclear, whether the speculated effect is a catastrophic runaway process or a mere change towards new climate equilibrium. As such, the consequences are much more vague and uncertain as compared to, e.g., the impact of a nuclear accident on the environment.
The second sentence in the second paragraph, predicting significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and health, as being "likely" without ever defining the word "likely", sounds more like propaganda rather than scientific prediction. Not only it needs further explanation and quantification, but it also seems to be based on inverted logic or faulty reasoning: One cannot admit of (still) being unable to make accurate prediction, and at the same time provide technological options for meeting the climate challenge to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
It is always good to actively participate in research, especially regarding the role of human activity. However, to widely support policies and actions that will indiscriminately reduce emission of greenhouse gases is better made with great precaution. Such precaution is even more crucial in regards of the recently exposed scientific fraud of data manipulation in global warming research . Scientists should present scientific facts, not ideology. Science per se is value-free. As such, science should not argue whether global warming is good or bad. It is ideology, which gives global warming a value. However, ideology is almost always double-sided, meaning what is good for one side may be bad for the other. Furthermore, who knows beforehand, whether enhanced human activities including those made by developing countries, even at the cost of increased emission, would not result in ingenious technology that could counteract the negative effects of global warming? Is global warming mitigation not some kind of luxury affordable only to prosperous nations of the world? By all means, precaution and moderation of support are highly commendable to avoid siding with the new age movement in spreading Sokal Hoax  in the traditional domains of natural sciences.
Bernard Eng-Kie Souw, PhD
In 1996 Professor Alan Sokal, a physicist at New York University, submitted a deliberately pseudoscientific paper for publication in a post-modernist academic journal of cultural studies. The paper, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,", published in the Spring/Summer 1996 issue of Social Text, was submitted to see if an academic journal would (in Sokal's words) "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if
(a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions."
On the precise day of publication in Social Text, Sokal announced in another journal that the article had, in fact, been a hoax. This caused an academic scandal, both at Duke University (where Social Text is published) and for Sokal himself, as charges of unethical behaviour were levelled, but easily dismissed.
The article contains a number of statements that Sokal stated were "a pastiche of left-wing cant, fawning references, grandiose quotations, and outright nonsense." At one stage he asserts that "physical reality is at bottom nothing more than a social and linguistic construct," and at another he proposes that the New Age concept of the morphogenic field actually constitutes a "cutting edge theory of quantum gravity." As further evidence of deliberate fabrications, Sokal also cited his proposition that "the axiom of equality in mathematical set theory is analogous to the homonymous concept in feminist politics."
Alan Sokal in his own words:
But why did I do it? I confess that I'm an unabashed Old Leftist who never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class. And I'm a stodgy old scientist who believes, naively, that there exists an external world, that there exist objective truths about that world, and that my job is to discover some of them.
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