NZCLIMATE & ENVIRO TRUTH NO 150
WHEN IS A “PREDICTION” NOT A PREDICTION?
JULY 1ST 2007
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knockdown argument" Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpy said, in rather a scornful tone. "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less"
"The question is" said Alice, whether you can make words mean so many different things"
"The question is" said Humpty Dumpy, "which is to be the master -- that's all"
When I was at school I had a book called "Clear Thinking" which sought to argue that we should use words that have precise meanings. It included a number of passages showing how politicians are experts in using words which sound impressive, but have no meaning whatsoever. Many of the illustrative passages were from speeches made by the then British Prime Minister, James Ramsay McDonald.
The environmental movement is a supreme example of how a whole series of words can be invented which superficially seem beneficial, but which can be used to conceal the main overall objective of the movement which is to harm human activity.
"The environment" What is it, where is it, what are its boundaries? All these are decided any way that they wish by anybody who call him/herself an "environmentalist", to persuade us to take harmful decisions.
The term has a long history. It is a new form of "Nature", which is supposed to exist separately from humans, and to be somehow, superior. Anything that is "natural" is preferable to anything that is "artificial". Darwin himself fell for this when he attempted to distinguish between "natural" and "artificial" selection.
The political term is "conservative". The richest people in all human societies want to maintain their privileges so they argue than any change is bad; particularly any change which interferes with their income.
"Conservation" is a similar term. Not only must we conserve the incomes and privileges of the rich, but we must conserve the superior "natural" world. Ordinary humans do not count, unless they are primitive and backward.
"Sustainability" is a recent similar term, used to prevent and frustrate any sort of change. Since it admittedly harms contemporary humans the hypocritical claim is made that we make all these sacrifices "for the sake of future generations". All past experience show that future generations always have different attitudes, beliefs, and technology, They will not thank us for our foolish sacrifice.
Ernst Haeckel coined the term "ecology" to describe the constantly changing interaction between all organisms. "Environmentalists" have redefined this scientifically correct term to take us back to our medieval ancestors who believed in a static world. They have divided the world into static "ecosystems" which must be maintained permanently in a constant state. No "ecosystem" in the way they think of it actually exists, but who cares?
"Biodiversity" is another environmentalist absurdity. It seeks to claim that there is some sort of moral superiority in actual numbers of "species" present in an "ecosystem". Unfortunately it is almost impossible to count them all, so that in practice, it tends to refer to those creatures that are visible to the human eye.
Other organisms have no such qualms. Deciduous trees have devised a cunning system for killing off competitors by shedding poisonous leaves which kill off other plants. With al other organisms, biology is competitive. Only humans are supposed to commit suicide on behalf of the preservation of other organisms.
Then we have the fraud of "endangered" species. There is no record of any one of them ever becoming actually extinct. I tried asking Google for a list of organisms that had recently become extinct. The number was very small, about the same as for the past 400 years.
Darwin devoted his famous book "The Origin of Species" to explain that "species" is only a card index classification category which is decided arbitrarily from the opinions of taxonomists. Environmentalists have restored the concept of Linnaeus that "species" are created by God and are unchanging; or at least must be prevented from changing.
Darwin's work presented a real challenge to taxonomists in trying to classify fossils. They are obsessed with the coming of "speciation" a process that actually takes place in their own minds when they try to decide how much difference is enough for them to take out a new index card. Nowadays they have the conflict between the amount or importance of genes as opposed to more readily visible characteristics.
"Climate Change" has actually been rigidly defined by an International Treaty as "change of climate by human-produced greenhouse gas emissions". But this rather inhibits the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which, on the face of it has the sole task of promoting this definition. If they keep to it too rigidly they cannot show that "natural" climate effects can be rubbished, so they change the definition to include "natural" effects, but switch to the other one whenever they feel like it.
The IPCC "Climate Change 1990" was called an "Assessment". It included a Chapter entitled "Assessment of Climate Models".
Page 1 of the "Executive Summary" of the "Policymakers Summary" had a paragraph headed
"Based on current models, we predict:” and under this they give the "Business as Usual" scenario results. These results are thus not just from the results of models, but they include the assumptions of this particular scenario. Even if you think the models might be correct, how can you rely on what is no more than guesswork about the future--100 years ahead?
Later they confessed "There are many uncertainties in our predictions" but they did not give any actual estimates of how high these were.
The next paragraph was headed "Our judgment is". So, it is a matter of opinion only
They also used such terms as "we expect", "we are confident that" "we conclude" all purely opinions, not scientific evidence.
There was no glossary, or definitions in this Report.
The IPCC "Climate Change 1992" said:
"Scenarios are not predictions of the future and should not be used as such"
It seems that after that they stopped using the word "prediction".
The IPCC "Climate Change 1994" included an evaluation of emissions scenarios which had the prize quotation:
"Since scenarios deal with the future; they cannot be compared to observations"
Since ALL of the IPCC pronouncements incorporate scenarios it means that you can never find out whether they are correct, In any case they always "predict" or "project" so far ahead that they will enjoy their generous pensions without the danger of somebody checking up on them.
The "Report on Emissions Scenarios (2000)" repeated the definition of "scenario", but also said:
"Scenarios are images of the future or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts"
The IPCC "Climate Change 1995" abolished the use of the term "predictions". In the "Summary for Policymakers" they even retreated to the utterly ambiguous statement:
"The balance of the evidence suggests a discernible human influence on the climate". This statement did not even mention greenhouse gases, In this report there was no mention of "predictions" or "projections" Climate Models were "evaluated", NOT "validated"
The IPCC "Climate Change 2001" also banned the use of the word "prediction", but they introduced the word "projection" instead. They had, at last, a Glossary", and they defined "projection" as follows:
A projection is a potential future evolution of a quantity or set of quantities, often computed with the help of a model. Projections are distinguished from predictions in order to emphasise that projections involve assumptions concerning e.g. future socio-economic and technological developments that may or may not be realised and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty"
This is an IPCC definition. It does not appear in any dictionary, most of which merely regard a "projection" as a "scheme" or a "plan".
This definition, surely, means that any "forecast" of the future which involves assumption of a particular "scenario" as to what might happen, should not be called a "prediction"
The "Summary for Policymakers" for the IPCC "Climate Change 2007" keeps to this definition. All their "forecasts" are called "projections": But it is obviously dishonest, as they have ignored that part of their own definition which says that "projections" are "subject to substantial uncertainty" when they ascribed 90% probabilities to several "projections" and consider that some "projections" can be "virtually certain".
The word "prediction" is creeping back into use. They can obviously change the meaning of words to suit themselves and the current political possibilities. The public believe that the IPCC makes "predictions" and I continue to try and point out that "officially" they say firmly that they do not.