A philosopher defending the merchants of alarm

“my view is that philosophers do better to paint a picture in which we urge trust in the consensus of the scientific community,based on features of that community’s social organization.” (Winsberg p. 161)

Philosophy and Climate Science (Cambridge 2018) appears to be the first book of its kind, promising a thorough and rigorous investigation of the philosophical and methodological issues that arise in the problematic and controversial field of climate science. It is long overdue because the scholars in the history and philosophy of science have by and large neglected this particular science. The two outstanding exceptions are Philip Kitcher and more recently Eric Winsberg, Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Florida.

Philip Kitcher recently retired from Columbia College NY with a claim to the title of the premier philosopher of science of his generation due to his list of publications and the chairs that he has occupied. With Evelyn Fox Keller he wrote The Seasons Alter that portrays a dystopian future in a warming world that probably represents Peak Alarmism. Any advance on a pandemic that kills billions of people?

In a similar vein but less flamboyant mode Eric Winsberg’s Philosophy and Climate Science is a sustained defence of the methods and conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and those who share its mission to promote alarm about the future of the planet. Consequently this book is not a solution to the apathy of the philosophers of science in the face of the shortcomings in the mainstream of climate science but instead it is part of the problem. This book cannot be recommended even at a remainder price unless you are looking for yet another example of the failure of the academic “dogs” to bark a warning.

to be continued

This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Philosophy, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to A philosopher defending the merchants of alarm

  1. Get with the program rafe.
    Climate science is special, So special it can ignore:
    1. The laws of physics
    2. The laws of chemistry
    3. Mathematics

  2. RobK

    So special it can ignore:

  3. Confused Old Misfit

    One would be well advised to ignore Winsberg.
    The man does not understand science.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    When someone has lived and worked in leftyland surrounded by lefties his whole life it is going to be really hard to discount what they say. That is why lefties still love Marxism despite its 100% failure rate: they hear each other tell of how wonderful it is all the time and don’t have the empiricism required to reject the propaganda – which they anyway want to believe.

    They all also know that if they fail to recite the little red book of climate lies they will be denounced and purged. That’s powerful incentive to stay in the herd.

  5. Roger

    …my view is that philosophers do better to paint a picture in which we urge trust in the consensus of the scientific community,based on features of that community’s social organization.

    Whatever happened Kuhnian scepticism of scientific consensuses?

  6. Travis T.

    No philosophy here, just a 100% crazy green and fellow traveller of the Bill Shorten clown car…

    WA Labor MP Lisa Baker attacked after blaming farmers for [global warming]

    “Ms Baker said meat-eating men produced more greenhouse gas emissions than vegan women and believed incentives should be offered for farms to be reforested.”


    Is it time now to thank all those heroic buffalo hunters who stopped 30-60 million buffalo from farting?

    Why America Wouldn’t Be America Without This Mountain Of Skulls


    Every day should be Fart for the climate day, to keep the cold away!

  7. cohenite

    The basis of alarmism, the IPCC, was audited by the IAC in 2010. That should have put an end to alarmism but just like the email scandal which revealed all climate scientists as liars and hypocrites and their science to be worthless it was ignored by the media and policy makers.

    Summaries of the IAC audit:



    And a discussion between me and some fuckwit about the IAC audit at Cat back in the day:


  8. egg_

    Get with the program rafe.
    Climate science is special, So special it can ignore:
    1. The laws of physics
    2. The laws of chemistry
    3. Mathematics

    Voodoo Science trumps all.
    When do we start throwing virgins into volcanoes?

  9. Snoopy

    Voodoo Science trumps all.
    When do we start throwing virgins into volcanoes?

    Maybe virgins aren’t necessary? Can we try a dozen or so frightbats first up? If that doesn’t work we can try Monty and Nicholas Reese. Even if the gods fail to be appeased we’ll still be ahead.

  10. Fat Tony

    When do we start throwing virgins into volcanoes?

    Good luck in finding any virgins around here…..unless, of course, you are referring to soy-boys.

  11. stackja

    Study aims to help prevent heatwave deaths
    Gemma Najem, Australian Associated Press
    42 minutes ago

    Keeping cool during a heatwave is not just inconvenient, for many Australians it can be a matter of life and death.

    Yet advice from public health agencies is severely lacking and fails to protect those most vulnerable, according to researchers who have launched a study into sustainable cooling techniques during heatwaves.

    As Australia sweltered through its hottest month on record in January, scientists at the University of Sydney had just begun a recruitment drive for research on how older Australians can stay safe when the mercury rises.

    The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, began testing on its first two participants last week, with researchers hoping to sign up about 100 Australians aged 60 or above by the end of 2019.

    Lead researcher Associate Professor Ollie Jay says the increasing threat of heatwaves, which are Australia’s deadliest natural disaster, particularly affects older people and those with cardiovascular disease due to their reduced ability to sweat.
    Staying cool may seem simple, but one quarter of Australians do not have air-conditioners and many more struggle to switch them on due to the cost of energy bills, he said.

    Meanwhile, an electric fan uses around 50 times less electricity than an air conditioner, while peaks in air-conditioning use risks overloading electricity grids and causing blackouts which leave even more people at risk.

    Under careful medical supervision, study participants will be exposed to various heatwave conditions and cooling strategies while scientists measure core temperature, monitor the heart and measure dehydration.

    Researchers will explore the effectiveness of applying water to the skin, as a cooling technique, alongside moving air in different ways through modifications of fan speeds and direction.

    They will also investigate hydration strategies: how much water do you have to drink, and does it matter what temperature the water is when you drink it?

    “It’s not an obvious one,” said Assoc Prof Jay, director of the laboratory.

    “When you drink an ice slushie, you reduce how much you sweat and get less evaporative heat loss.”

    The study is the first in a five-year research-series to develop evidence-based guidance on heatwave policies in a bid to improve public health guidelines.

    The series follows findings from a previous study, from the same laboratory, which challenged current public health advice that cautions people not to use fans when temperatures rise above 35C due to extra heat on the body from convection.

    “The message is oversimplified,” Assoc Prof Jay told AAP.

    “It’s dependent on the ability of someone to sweat as it’s the evaporation of the sweat that cools you down.”

    Assoc Prof Jay said the study, which will also take place at a university in Canada, could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.

  12. win

    Funny how rising global temperatures correspond to the closing of the dreaded holes in the Ozone layer.

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