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A Failure of Proof

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Oct 6, 2020 at 3:00 AM
Climate Change

In the previous commentary, A Failure of Belief, I asserted that neither science nor authority should require belief, but that both should require proof. I also asserted that both science and authority had demonstrated that they did not deserve to be believed regarding the two “crises” at issue, COVID19 and climate change. Since a basis for belief does not exist in either case, acceptance can only be based on proof; that is, on data which obviate the need for belief. Regrettably, the available data does not reach the level of proof regarding either of the “crises”.

In the case of COVID19, the primary data would consist of number of cases of the disease and number of deaths resulting from the disease. However, a high (though unknown) percentage of those who contract the disease remain asymptomatic and thus are likely not to be included in the number of cases unless they have tested positive. These individuals are not likely to have been tested because they have perceived no reason to be tested. Therefore, the data regarding the number of cases in the population are questionable and unreliable. This data reliability issue is compounded by numerous instances of false or misleading reporting of test results, such as the case in Florida in which positive test results were reported as 90+% when the actual results were 9+%.

COVID19 death data are also unreliable because of the varying criteria used by jurisdictions to classify a death as being from COVID19. For example, some jurisdictions report any death of an individual who tested positive for COVID19 as a COVID19 death, even in cases in which the actual cause of death was a traffic accident or a shooting or some pre-existing health condition. This situation renders the death data almost useless, though it has been used by the media regardless.

In the case of climate change, the primary data would consist of temperature measurements and sea level measurements. The temperature data are “adjusted”, reducing their provenance to estimates; and, there are differences in the “adjusted” temperature measurements among the sources of the original data. The sea level data are measured by two fundamentally different methods and the resulting measurements differ by a factor of two. Therefore, neither set of measurements rises to the level of proof of a particular situation.

Consensed climate science focuses on anthropogenic CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” as the cause of climate change, but there is no data which proves that anthropogenic “greenhouse” gases are the cause, or even a cause, of climate change; or, data which proves that the natural variation which caused climate change in the past has ceased to function.

Some in authority claim that climate change has caused increased hurricane frequency and severity, increased tornado frequency and intensity, more frequent and more intense precipitation and droughts, etc. However, these claims are counterfactual based on observational data. There exists no proof that climate change has had any measurable impact on severe weather frequency or intensity.

The combination of a Failure of Belief and a Failure of Proof result in confusion and uncertainty, both of which appear justified.