This Forbes opinion piece by Paul Johnston attempts the daring feat of trying to demonstrate that climate change is nonsense by using faulty logic, irrelevant anecdotes, bogus arguments, inappropriate analogies, unsubstantiated false claims, and hefty portions of sheer ignorance.
Naturally he fails miserably.
Johnson starts with an anecdote about asking a “Green” acquaintance “Well, what about your weather theory now?” and how this person allegedly claimed England had never had such weather previously.
To begin he illustrates that he does not understand the difference between weather and climate and hence the difference between meteorology and climatology. Not a good start for someone who proposes to critique climate science.
From this anecdotal example of a single person he generalizes that “Greens … know no history”, thereby committing an Inductive fallacy.
He then attempts to ascribe Climate science to “Greens” (Straw Man Fallacy) avoiding the troublesome fact that the source of climate science is climate scientists. Not only do climate scientists know climate history far beyond Johnson’s 80 years, and in a depth and detail that he cannot seem to conceive, they have also grasped the concept that the ‘globe’ or ‘Earth’ is an entire planet and not just Johnson’s back garden – a fact that appears to have eluded Johnson.
Yes, Johnson commits that other standard error of “it was cold where I am, therefore the whole planet is cold”, when in fact to date 2008 is the seventh hottest year recorded.
In case we are not yet convinced he further demonstrates his utter cluelessness about climate science by comparing it to the sciences of Marx and Freud. This departure into an irrelevant tangent is not supported by any demonstration that climate science is in any way analogous, but rather appears to be nothing more than a chance opportunity to take a swipe at Marx and Freud while committing the logical fallacy of “Guilt By Association”.
You would think that a historian would realize that ‘Climate Change Theory’ is not a hypothesis per se, but is like Evolution in that it is a meta-concept that is the most heuristic, rational, and parsimonious explanation of a vast amount of data coming from many fields and thousands of studies, each of which worked with testable hypotheses sensu Popper and qualify as rigourous, valid science. You would be wrong.
He hopes that through this completely irrelevant analogy he has demonstrated that “the essence of the Greens’ theory of global warming–has about as much basis in science as Marxism and Freudianism”. His ten minutes would have been better spent on a search engine discovering that there is in fact a staggeringly huge scientific basis to climate science and that his claim is laughably ridiculous.
Having thoroughly established that he has no idea what he is talking about it is time to launch into the requisite political rant. Here he seems to subscribe to the ideas of the much discredited Bjorn Lomborg and here. It seems that the logic driving this is that if you are going to indulge in nonsense you may as well go all of the way.
From there he critiques “Greens” for the biofuel debacle, ignoring the fact that the biofuel mess has been created by a society that wants to cut CO2 while still indulging in profligate energy use, a strategy neither environmentalists nor climate scientists advocated. This is followed by an equally ill-informed and anectdotal critique of wind power.
The particular irony is that Johnson’s delusions of competence led him to invoke the great philosopher Popper in the mistaken notion that Popper would have supported his views. It is more likely that Popper would have slapped him upside the head for all the gross errors of logic used in this idiotic article.