The empiricist army out to rescue ‘proper evidence-based science’ from the theorists

So the weather in Britain has been a bit extreme recently, right? Well actually, argues Christopher Brooker, a quick perusal of the facts shows nothing of the sort:

On the belief that Britain has recently experienced unprecedented rain, for instance, look at the analysis of the Met Office’s England and Wales rainfall data sets on Paul Homewood’s website, Not A Lot Of People Know That. There is no upward trend in our rainfall. Even January’s continual downpours made it only the sixteenth wettest month since records began in 1766. Even if this month’s rain adds a further 200mm (8in) to the December-January figure, the resulting 650mm would still be way short of the 812mm (32in) recorded between November 1929 and January 1930.

The problem is that “all true science … has here been thrown out of the window”. In a political environment dominated by ‘anthropogenic global warming’ (AGW) flat-earthers with their absolute lock on the institutions of science and the media (apart from the ones the critics of AGW write for that is) the responsibility falls on right-thinking empiricists like Christopher Brooker to rescue ‘the facts’ from the scientists responsible for their ideological distortion. As he explains, “for proper evidence-based science these days one has to step outside the hermetically sealed bubble of warmist group-think and look to that array of expert blogs and websites that provide the data necessary to thinking straight”.

So what is “evidence-based science”? It’s empiricist science. It’s positivism of a peculiarly unsophisticated sort. Data speaks for itself. All it requires is a mind free from distortion to identify the constant conjunctions indicated by the data. On this view, theory entails a retreat from ‘evidence’. What intrigues me about this proto-positivism is its capacity to be both naive (the ‘facts’ speak for themselves) and paranoid (disagreement is reduced to a plot to distort the ‘facts’). If one were to look psychoanalytically at this cultural trend, we might point to ‘the facts’ as a fetish object for critics of AGW. They are imbued with magical powers, able to dissolve complex arguments into self-evident truths which illustrate the path forward for humanity amidst a 21st century almost constitutively dilemmatic. But ‘the facts’ are also made by those very scientists who are conspiring to undermine such clear-thinking: meteorologists and climatologists produce the very data sets upon which this empiricist army of keyboard warriors depend to rescue “proper evidence-based science”. They are dependent upon the scientists yet simultaneously repudiate this dependence. They want the power of ‘the facts’ but refuse the dependence which would ensue from exercising this power. And this is how people who, though loathsome, are not idiots end up saying things like this:

Or perhaps he is just an idiot. He’s an “interpreter of interpretations” who repudiates the professional establishment he’s interpreting. You see what I mean? As a cultural formation ‘AGW-criticism’ is really interesting.

Categories: Outflanking Platitudes

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