Re: I am not a climatologist but....
>What's important is that consensus is far more reliable than non-consensus.
No! No! No! Seriously no!
Consensus is an appalling way to conduct any kind of investigation!
If you used consensus to determine whether or not God exists, then you would conclude that he does because the consensus among clerics (respected authority figures) is that he does indeed exist.
But the overwhelming evidence is that he doesn't.
Yet millions of people believe something that is about as unlikely as anything is possible to be.
You just cannot use consensus as the *basis* for an assertion.
> Most of the knowledge people have, they haven't derived it themselves from first principles or by direct observation....For example I have never observed Neptune, but I believe it exists.
Yes, but you *could* if you wanted to. You can go to an observatory and you could ask to look at it. And you would see it. It is demonstrably true to a very, very high degree of certainty. That you could, at least in theory, reproduce the experiments, repeat the observations verify the assertions yourself, or have someone skilled in that subject do it for you, is what separates snake oil from science. I can see why superficially it looks like we take a lot of things on faith, and we do. However, we should only take on faith those things that have been demonstrably and repeatedly proved. Conjecture based on some models that have been tweaked and re-tweaked to fit a theoretical model of a complex climate system are not a good basis for consensus. That there are atoms I have to take on faith. However an awful lot of technology depends on there being atoms such that we have to conclude that, in so far as we can tell, they do in fact exist.
> When Crichton argues "Consensus is not science" he's not even wrong. He's not even addressing how and why consensus is used at the public/expert interface.
No, climate "science"'s assertions are being reported to the public (and taught in my son's school of all things) as incontrovertible fact, a done deal. My son's teacher teaches AGM in the same way as Darwinian evolution. They are not even on the same planet, so to speak. This stuff is being called science and the public knows that science is associated with rigorous pursuit of the truth via experimentation, high quality evidence and a high-quality ethic, but what they are being served up is no such thing.
> Scenarios are just 'If X then Y' statements. They are conditional predictions. If you emit then X happens. If you don't emit then Y happens. Crichton looks at X and Y and says "They're so different! they don't know!". That's hardly a reasonable argument. It completely misses the point.
Firstly, the basis for the scenarios are arbitrary based on possible extrapolations. They are also based on projections of a number of other things (population, CO2 output rise, solar activity....etcetcetc) for which we have no determining basis: they are merely conjecture. In particular, speculations on population growth in the past have been spectacularly wrong.
Secondly, the predictions themselves are based in the premise of a well-behaved environment. There is little evidence to suggest that the climate behaves linearly in this way.
> I have no medical knowledge, but if 1% of doctors think treatment A is good but 99% of doctors think treatment B is good, I will pick treatment B.
Drug companies have to bend over backwards to demonstrate efficacy and safety, and their investigations are a matter of public record. Double blind trials, control groups, rigorous reporting and record keeping: these are the hallmarks of science. Is this the kind of terminology you might find in a climate "science" article?