Doctors don’t always make good scientists, but we all receive training in scientific methodology. We can all critique a published paper, we understand peer review and why it matters.
So, here’s a scenario for a study.
We have to have a hypothesis. It’s that prawn cocktail crisps kill you.
We have to have a clearly identifiable and important outcome. In this case it’s easy: death
We set ourselves a timescale, say 5 years, and measure all the crisps eaten by our study population.
Then we wait for them to die.
However, after 5 years, there are no deaths, despite gorging on crisps. What must we reasonably conclude?
The obvious answer is that there’s no problem with the crisps. It’s possible, though highly unlikely, that we didn’t study for long enough, but we can extend the trial, no problem.
What we cannot sensibly conclude, is that the crisps are indeed dangerous, but in ways that we can’t explain or justify. We likewise cannot mount a campaign to ban these tasty snacks on the basis of our study. Remember that it was us who selected both the hypothesis and the outcome measure, no-one forced them upon us. If we did continue to claim that the crisps were a lethal problem, then we would be widely – and rightly – derided and mocked. Our credibility would be shot.
This slightly silly scenario has just unfolded before us in another guise. No prizes for guessing that it’s climate change.
The chosen outcomes have been no snow, or melted ice caps, though there are lots of others to choose from. At least those two are easy to observe. It was Al “crazed sex poodle” Gore (and many others) who predicted the melted ice caps, within 5 years (5 years ago), and the fantastically hubristic Dr David Viner of the entirely dodgy (on many levels) University of East Anglia famously claimed ‘within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is’.
Neither of these clowns felt the need to say that ‘climate is not the same as weather’, so sure were they.
So, when Dave emerges with no proof whatsoever, and:
The prime minister told MPs that there were more “abnormal” weather events occurring and he “suspected” they were linked to global temperature changes.
…and when the leader of the bad climate science brigade turns obsessively litigious, and Arctic and Antarctic ice fail to melt, and in fact increase, and when countries don’t disappear due to non-existent rising sea levels…..
…then we’re all entitled to look at the lack of evidence, and the absurd obfuscations and inventions that inevitably follow it, from the climate changers, and draw our own conclusions.
As good scientists should.