Thursday, 2 December 2010

Looking out the window is not science

Douglas Carswell is the latest right-winger to fall for this fallacy;

Westminster in the snow this morning

So, how's that global warming theory working out?
Or, to put it another way, "I looked out my window and didn't see Barbados, therefore global warming is bollocks." Hands on hips. Look smug. Declare victory when the other person decides you're not really worth the bother.

Except that, unless you're a complete fucking moron, it should be plainly obvious that this is idiocy. Especially as we're talking about changes in the climate, not the weather.

As NASA point out, "the difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time." The weather can change significantly from day to day. But "when we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather."

Thus, if I'm ever going to be convinced that anthropogenic climate change isn't a genuine phenomenon, it'll take more than the fact that winter exists. Especially now that Skeptical Science has torn apart the fake scandal of Climategate. At considerable length. Along with a whole myriad of other arguments which are supposedly unanswerable.

People in Britain can look outside their houses and see snow. But, as rational beings, we should realise that this is no more the death knell for climate change than it is a sign of the impending apocalypse. It does, however, put the likes of Carswell on a par with creationists.