This year has been the worst ever for global warming–er, climate change. Not just because temperatures are near record lows for much of the eastern United States, but also because the western states have been warm and dry. That has led foolish politicians to claim that both the cold and the warmth are evidence of a scientific theory that few of them could actually explain if you asked them. Whatever happens, it’s “climate change,” because even the extreme cold must have been caused by some kind of heating somewhere else in the world.
Philosopher Karl Popper described the essence of a scientific theory as “falsifiability”–i.e. it must be possible to conceive of a way to disprove the theory, so that its validity can be demonstrated and defended. Climate change, at least in popular discourse, is unfalsifiable. Everything is taken as proof that it is happening, and the repeated failure of sophisticated climate models to predict the actual, observed results is hardly noticed. Even the name of the phenomenon itself has been changed to fit the rather contradictory outcomes ascribed to it.
That is the definition of pseudoscience. (And how ironic that the “Open Society” left violates one of the core concepts of the man who invented that term.) There is, of course, some real scientific evidence to support the idea that the earth’s average surface temperature has been warming as a result of human activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, our climate is so complex that we still cannot predict the precise effects of those changes, much less rule out other factors or decide what measures to take in response.
So it is possible that climate change could alter weather patterns in both hot and cold directions, but until there is a model that actually explains or predicts that result, any large-scale explanation is speculative at best. President Barack Obama has gone even further, blaming the California drought on climate change and then claiming to have mitigated “severe weather.” Such foolishness, by itself, does not disprove climate change–but it does much to erode the credibility of those who pretended to be champions of scientific enlightenment.