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Build Back Better Science

build back better science

Welcome to the world of post-empirical science. A dangerous trend. Now is the time to build back better science, my friends.

For centuries, science has been empirical. You can understand this as the basic concept that a theory is scientific only if it can potentially be proven wrong. You achieve science only through debate and experiment. Nothing is “settled” because true science can never be proven right. Science is always uncertain.

You should take the time to understand Karl Popper and the principle of falsifiability. If a theory doesn’t make a testable prediction, it isn’t science.

Climate science is my leading example of pseudo-science, which relies much more on abduction, which Sean Carroll calls “inference to the best explanation”. But you will find that agreeing on the best explanation requires opinion rather than evidence, which is why we lean on “consensus” in climate science. Worse, by excluding alternative points of view, real improvements in climate science become far less likely.

This is not good. At present, climate science is not fit for purpose in predicting anything. We need to build back better science in a big way.

Yes, climate is probably changing and yes, greenhouse gasses may have some effect. But until climate science moves from hand-crafted simulations to reality, we should focus scientific efforts more on helping adapt to the effects of climate change.

Build Back Better Science – Focus on Adapting

Twenty years ago, Al Gore opposed the idea that we should adapt our infrastructure, farms and forests to a warmer planet as “a kind of laziness”. He was wrong. We are better served by real science focusing on adapting to changing climate. This is finally starting to happen. Too bad we wasted a generation fixating on carbon dioxide.

In the past epochs, humans have thrived during periods of climate fluctuation. Climate change led to global migrations, domestication of plants and animals and the emergence of agriculture. In turn, we transformed these into settlements and cities.

Our species evolution is based on climate cooling and warming over time. Yes, the wildfires in western USA and Australia are terrifying, but entirely predictable and manageable by empirical science, regardless of the temperature.

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