This opinion piece appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday:
It argues against the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the grounds that a lot of what we say we know about climate change is based on theoretical modelling.
I submitted this letter to the editor, which may or may not appear:
I read Michael Duffy’s article “However virtuous, virtual science is no substitute for the real thing” (Herald, December 22) with dismay. Rather than advocating “real science” (which he leaves undefined) he seems to have done nothing more than reveal his own ignorance about how science works.
The whole point of mathematical modelling is to calculate the predictions of a model. If you don’t know what the predictions of a model are, there is no way to test it against reality. And if you blindly make observations with no models in mind, the observations are pointless because they do not tell you anything.
It’s true there are models that make incorrect predictions. Great! That increases our state of knowledge. But if Michael Duffy is sitting on some compelling evidence that the IPCC’s conclusions regarding global warming are wrong, perhaps he should submit them to a real scientific journal, rather than trying to manipulate the opinions of the uninformed through misleading articles in newspapers.