Thoughts on climate modeling
This is cobbled together from a Buzz thread (yes, Google Buzz) about Global Warming. I think there are a lot of lay people who accept the science of Global Warming without understanding that most of the projected warming comes not from physics, but solely from computer models of the Earth's climate. Here's why these models (and thus Global Warming) are on very shaky ground.
Belief in Global Warming comes down to your faith in computer models.
My chief objection to models, is that no one else uses them- and is taken seriously. In no other scientific domain has anyone demonstrated compelling statical modelling of complex systems capable of making confident predictions of future states. Not economics or biology. Even in Aeronautics where models are incredibly important, it's very, very difficult to make a system that properly models chaotic behavior like turbulent air flows. And Aeronautics has it easy- they can do trial-and-error and compare their models to real-life measurements.
The idea that a few dozen PhD groups have somehow created accurate computer models of the entire weather system, despite this system not being full understood, despite the system featuring chaotic, positive feedbacks, and being almost impossible to test (since there's only one, limited, and inaccurate set of data to ground truth it against) is absolutely incredible.
I given them credit for trying - and in the process learning more about the climate system and computer modeling. But the idea that they can have any confidence whatsoever about their system(s) making accurate predictions about the future is pure politics
Where's the proof?
After I posted the above, someone asked: "where's the proof that these models are wrong?"