segunda-feira, 25 de junho de 2012

A ciência climática: pós-normal e pós-moderna

Um excerto de um inspirador post de Garth Paltridge "Science held hostage in climate debateno blogue de Judith Curry:
[C]limate science is an example of what Canadian educator Sue McGregor calls “post-normal science”, in which “the facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high and decisions are urgent”. In such circumstances it is virtually impossible to avoid subconscious cherry-picking of data to suit the popular theory of the time. Even Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were not immune from the problem. In their case they were of sufficient genius (and were sufficiently lucky!) for their theories ultimately to trump the inaccuracy of the observations they had selected. Other scientists are rarely so prescient or so lucky. In the modern era, the problem is compounded by the existence of vastly complex computer models that can be tuned, again more-or-less subconsciously, to yield the desired result. From theory to observation and back again – if we are not careful, the cherry-picking can go round and round in an endless, misleading loop.

But the real worry with climate research is that it is on the very edge of what is called postmodern science. This is a counterpart of the relativist world of postmodern art and design. It is a much more dangerous beast, whose results are valid only in the context of society’s beliefs and where the very existence of scientific truth can be denied. Postmodern science envisages a sort of political nirvana in which scientific theory and results can be consciously and legitimately manipulated to suit either the dictates of political correctness or the policies of the government of the day.

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