Monday, January 20, 2014
Karl Popper and the Ideology of Global Warming
It's about 4 degrees this morning--at least that's the temperature where I live. Wilmington, Delaware seldom sees temperatures that low. There's frost on the outside storm window for the first time in years. Brrrr.
As I enjoy a hot cup of coffee, I find myself thinking about global warming, Karl Popper and his theory of falsifiability. Popper wrote that an important tenet in the philosophy of science was that a theory is not really scientific if it doesn't admit that there is always the possibility the theory may be false. Any scientific theory that does not allow the possibility it may be false is no longer science, but is ideology, a belief system taken entirely on faith.
I'm remembering a discussion with my eldest son, who says the theory of global warming is non-falsifiable and therefore an ideology rather than true science. He said the problem with global warmists is that no matter how climate actually behaves, all data ostensibly proves the overall temperature of the earth is continually rising. It follows that the recent deep freeze temperatures crippling large parts of our nation are proof of global warming just as the inevitable heat waves coming this summer will also be proof of global warming. Popper would call such a line of reasoning a "closed circle."
Sounds like a religious cult to me. C.S. Lewis would agree, as he was one of the first to name such cults branches of "scientism," a belief system that sees scientific theory as infallible and therefore a handy substitute for traditional religious beliefs that see only the almighty and all wise God as infallible.
The warmist cult resembles religion in another sense, too. There is penance and redemption possible. According to the warmists, in order to avoid catastrophe, we humans must change our way of living and decrease the heat by abandoning fossil fuels and reducing our carbon footprint. Self-flagellation involves penitent actions such as reducing our standard of living and getting rid of sinful objects such as the incandescent light bulb. We can and must save ourselves and the planet.
So as you deal with Siberian temperatures, whether trying to start your car, wrestling with your house-bound kids who are out of school all day, or sleeping at the airport because your flight has been cancelled, remember the earth is actually warming up.
Use the time you and yours are grounded by sub-zero temperatures thoughtfully. Make a list of how you can do penance for contributing to the earth's death by heat.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).