A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
In 1912, amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson claimed to have discovered the “missing link” between ape and man, known as “The Piltdown Man.” He had found part of a human-like skull in Pleistocene gravel beds near Piltdown village in Sussex, England. Dawson submitted the find to Arthur Smith Woodward, keeper of geology at the Natural History Museum. Smith Woodward made a reconstruction of skull fragments, and the archaeologists hypothesized that the find indicated evidence of a human ancestor living 500,000 years ago. They announced their discovery at a Geological Society meeting in 1912. For the most part, their story was accepted as fact. However, subsequent chemical testing showed that the skull and jaw fragments actually came from two different species, a human and an ape.
The conclusion: Piltdown Man was an audacious fake and sophisticated scientific fraud. Forty-one years elapsed between the discovery of the “Piltdown Man” and the determination that it was a fraud.
In 1988, the United Nations formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (U.N. IPCC). In its seminal report in 1990, the U.N. IPCC stated that “at the then current rate of world emissions of CO2, the global mean temperature would likely increase by 1°C by 2025.” This statement formed the basis for the hypothesis that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming resulted from the increased concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s lower atmosphere resulting from man-made activities. Central to the hypothesis was that the temperature of the lower troposphere would increase as the concentration of CO2 in the troposphere increased. Therefore, in its 1990 report, the U.N. IPCC established a direct linkage between the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the temperature of the lower troposphere.
The scientific method of inquiry has guided scientific research and investigation for over 400 years. In summary, the scientific method requires that a researcher observe a phenomenon, postulate a hypothesis for the cause of the phenomenon, and then conduct experiments or scientific investigations in an effort to falsify the hypothesis.
In adherence to the scientific method, a climate scientist who thinks that man has caused global warming should develop a complex hypothesis as follows:
- Global warming has occurred; that is, the temperature of the world’s oceans, land mass, and relevant atmosphere has risen during the period under investigation by a statistically significant amount.
- Man’s activities are responsible for the global warming that has occurred.
- The extent to which global warming has occurred, or is reasonably projected to occur in the future, will adversely affect life on Earth.
If any of the conjectures in the complex hypothesis above are found to be invalid, the complex hypothesis is determined to be falsified and either discarded or modified.
In 1978, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began to launch a series of satellites to polar-circumnavigate the globe using microwave sounding technology to measure the temperature of the lower troposphere (first 8 km of the Earth’s atmosphere). The results show that during the period 1979–1998, the average monthly temperature anomaly of the lower troposphere decreased approximately 0.3° C each year, while the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased from 335 ppm to 370 ppm.
Sometime during the period 1979–1998, an unbiased climate scientist at the U.N. IPCC should have observed that the temperature of the troposphere had significantly cooled while the concentration of CO2 had increased, contradicting the fundamental precept of the global warming hypothesis. A committee should have been assembled to verify the accuracy of the temperature and CO2 concentration data. The man-made global warming hypothesis should have been declared falsified if the data were accurate. No such action occurred.
Until the advent of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, the Piltdown Man was the most remarkable scientific fraud in history. The anthropogenic global warming hypothesis has now assumed that title.
Guy K. Mitchell, Jr. is the author of a new book titled Global Warming: The Great Deception — The Triumph of Dollars and Politics over Science and Why You Should Care. Published on Amazon.com on January 4, 2022.
Graphic credit: Cristian Ibarra Santilla, CC BY 2.0 license.