Since I recently posted about government food and nutrition “science,” perhaps I should revisit bad science in another area. We are having unseasonably warm weather right now. Here is a recent Associated Press video:
For at least one of the people interviewed, the weather is obviously the result of “global warming.” He complains of those who resist the belief.
To Associated Press’s credit, the description of the video acknowledged the real scientific consensus:
A weather pattern partly linked with El Nino has turned winter upside-down across the US during a week of heavy holiday travel, bringing spring-like warmth to the Northeast and heavy amounts of snow across the West.
This reminds me of how food “science” gets so confused. (I got this from Denise Minger but I can’t remember which post or video. Probably several. Google her for writing and video refuting The China Study and the documentary, “Forks Over Knives.”) The issue is confounding factors or variables.
When the government or other spokesmen for “the science is settled” dogma tell the nation that a certain food is healthy or unhealthy, there will be two responses to it. A group that is concerned about their health will follow the new guidelines and a group that doesn’t care will ignore the guidelines. Members of the first group will be more likely to also watch their weight, exercise regularly, limit alcohol consumption, and eat other healthy foods. Members of the second group will be more likely to smoke, use other drugs, engage in heavy drinking, and eat food that is bad for you.
Within a short time there will be plenty of observational data showing that those who follow the new recommendation are healthier than those who ignore it. This will be treated as evidence for the guideline, but the presence of confounding factors will mean that it proves nothing. It could easily be some other aspect of their lifestyle that explains the difference.
Likewise, this will happen on a personal level. When people decide to get fit and eat right, they typically change a great many lifestyle factors–not least what they eat and how much they exercise. If they are lucky enough to experience positive change, that proves to them that everything they started doing works. Likewise, everything they see the weak and sick slobs around them doing differently must be unhealthy.
(This is one way meat and saturated fat get demonized.)
So it is with alleged climate change. People ignore the confounding factor–El Nino. They assume the weather anomaly fits their pattern.
Skepticism of global warming isn’t based on local weather. As much fun as it is to hear about research ships going to measure receding ice being obstructed because it is not receding, those anecdotes are not the basis of our skepticism.
Our skepticism is based on data falsifying models predicting global warming, and the fact that climate change advocates admit the expensive regulations won’t solve the problem–to list just two of the reasons.