Saturday, January 01, 2005

Missing the Absurdity

Australia's The Age just can't step back and see the irony. After all, we're talking about the impending catastrophe of global warming. In their latest review of Michael Crichton's State of Fear, the Age writes:
"Highlighting a 'natural warming trend' afflicting the globe, he (Crichton) estimates that in the next century temperatures will rise by just '0.812436C, well-below the 1.5-6C estimated by the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC)'."
Crichton's estimate, found in the "Author's Message" postscript to his novel, is an intended absurdity - otherwise known as a joke - meant to illustrate the foolishness of long-term climate modeling by giving a value to the millionths decimal place. The Age also doesn't report his follow-on sentence:
"There is no evidence that my guess about the state of the world one hundred years from now is any better or worse than anyone else's."
Current computer-based climate models vary as much as 400 percent, proof, as Crichton says, of the relative validity of his "guess." He suggests that before any policy decisions are made on the basis of those models that they be required to predict future temperatures accurately for a period of ten years. I don't hear any takers.

Crichton's thesis is that science has not shown how much, if any, measurable global warming is man-made, given the larger trend of natural warming from the latest 400 year "little Ice Age" which ended in the 1800s. He also points out that the "precautionary principle," the belief in "better safe than sorry," is self-contradictory and likely to lead to disasterous policy decisions, not unlike the banning of DDT and its horrific costs, which have far exceeded the loss of life from this past week's natural disaster.

So the Age soldiers on, insuring that the scare mongers are lauded and the skeptics are "debunked."